How to Survive: Preparing to Survive Pandemics, Disease Outbreaks and Disasters

by Robert Richardson

While many in this country have become extremely fearful over the current Ebola crisis, I still don’t think there’s a reason to panic. While there are some very real reasons to be concerned – any disease outbreak that has a 70% death rate is troubling, to say the least – the real crisis brought forward by this situation is our country’s level of preparedness when it comes to fighting any disease outbreak or pandemic.

Throughout history millions upon millions of people have died as the result of pandemic outbreaks; in fact, almost every recorded civilization has been affected by one of these outbreaks. From smallpox, which killed an estimated 300-500 million people during the 20th century, to things like tuberculosis, the 1918 Flu Pandemic and the Third Pandemic, caused by the Bubonic Plague, which wasn’t fully contained until 1959, pandemics are a very real cause for concern.

While most people, up until this recent Ebola crisis believed our medical system was equipped to deal with these types of outbreaks, because of modern technology and modern medicine, the fact is, we are no more prepared today than we were a hundred years ago. In fact, I believe we are in worse shape today, and I believe our modern world has somewhat set us up for disaster.

The risk of seeing a major Pandemic Outbreak has never been Greater

We live in an interconnected world; this makes it increasingly likely that we will see a major disease outbreak in the very near future. While it may not be this current Ebola outbreak, we will see some sort of pandemic outbreak at some point.  It’s a process that’s highly predictable.

When you consider the fact that the 1918 flu pandemic killed an estimated 50 million people, it’s actually quite frightening to think about a disease like that breaking out in today’s world. The 1918 Flu Pandemic took around 6 months to spread throughout the world. In today’s environment, where a disease outbreak is only a plane trip away, this same thing could be accomplished in a single day. The chance of a pandemic strain spreading throughout the world is greater than it’s ever been.

The Government is not ready, and will not be able to help.

I’ve been telling people this for over a decade. In fact, it was the basis for why I wrote my book, The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide: Self-Reliance Strategies for a Dangerous World.

After attending a number of high level conferences with the top government preparedness agencies, I was shocked at how little these people actually knew about preparedness. While I always recognized they wouldn’t be able to adequately respond to a large-scale disaster, it was actually shocking to see their complete lack of experience firsthand.

Even worse were the actual conference tracks. Conference after conference was dedicated to things like handling PR after the agency dropped the ball, how to talk to the media without making the agency look bad, or how to respond to an angry public on social media. Instead of figuring out why things went bad during previous disasters, these people instead choose to focus on how they should have responded in a way that made themselves look better ­– Simply Disgusting!

Over the years I’ve received a lot of criticism; mostly from unprepared people who were too lazy to take their own health and safety seriously. These people insisted the government was there to help; insisted that the billions of dollars we spend every year on federal preparedness was enough; insisted I was crazy for saying anything to the contrary. Well, after watching the government’s failed response to a single case of Ebola showing up inside the United States, I think most of that doubt has been put to rest.

A lot of really unprepared people are finally waking up to the realization that they need to be their own first responders, because to count on the government to do it isn’t an option that’s going to keep them breathing when the shit hits the fan. Sorry if that may be a little graphic for you, but what’s happening in our government isn’t pretty, and what happens during any crisis in this country, whether it’s a natural or man-made disaster, isn’t pretty when you’re not prepared. In fact, it quite possibly could be deadly.

Things the average person can do to protect themselves.

Understand what threats are out there: Only you can decide what threats to prepare for, but it should be based on a realistic threat assessment. Before spending a single cent on emergency preparedness gear, supplies, or whatever it is you think you need, you need to understand what the most likely threats are that you’ll face, and then formulate a plan to deal with them.

Prepare now! The time for pretending the government can help you, or all those days spent putting it off until tomorrow are over. It’s only a matter of time before you are affected by some sort of disaster, crisis, economic problem, or threat to your health and safety. Whether it’s Ebola, or some future threat we’ve yet to see, you need to start taking steps to protect yourself and your family now.

You need a stockpile of food, water and emergency supplies. Even during small-scale disasters our country’s infrastructure is quick to be affected. How many times have we seen entire grocery stores wiped out in the lead up to a major storm or hurricane? Now imagine a pandemic outbreak that affected the country for 3 – 6 months. If you don’t have an adequate supply of food and water, you’re going to starve or die of dehydration. I don’t mean to be harsh, but there’s simply no way to sugar coat what’s going to happen.

You need to be able to defend yourself. In the case of a deadly pandemic outbreak we are going to see major social unrest. The moment people realize they can’t feed their families, or they see people in their neighborhood dropping dead, all hell is going to break loose. Listen, people riot in this country over a basketball game; imagine these same people when they’re starving, and people are dying around them.

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