It’s likely you awoke this morning to news reports of a region shutdown by a few inches of snow. The combination of ice and snow overwhelmed the infrastructure of cities like Atlanta, causing backups so significant, most people abandoned their vehicles. Its not hard to imagine a scenario when someone would be stranded in the woods, far from help; why then do we consider the city to be so much safer. It doesn’t take an imagination to see the fact that many commuters spent the night away from home. Stores like whole foods, home depot, CVS quickly turned into refuge camps for those seeking shelter. All of these people woke up expecting a normal day, only to find themselves victims of circumstance. What lessons can we learn from Atlanta?
- Always keep you tank at least half full. Many traffic jams were only exasperated by a litany of vehicles abandoned, simply because they ran out of gas, unable to reach a fueling station. Consider your tank empty when reaching half, and you’ll always leave work with a enough to drive for hours.
- Always have regular clothes available. There is nothing wrong with business attire, in a business environment. Outside of those high-rise buildings, the world awaits with plenty of surprises. Would you want to change a tire in a business suit, or walk two miles to the nearest gas station in pumps and a skirt? Would you want to sleep in what you are wearing right now? Pack a simple overnight bag to leave in your trunk, with a complete change of clothes and shoes. This doesn’t have to be fancy, but you’ll be glad you ditched your skirt for jeans when your sleeping at the home depot. Comfortable shoes are worth their weight in gold during a disaster situation. Also, don’t forget a cell phone charger.
- Always have food and water in your car. Sure, many people in Atlanta slept in a Whole Foods, with shelves of food available to them. But how many were still miles from a grocery or convenience store. How many slept in a conference room, or in their cars? An empty stomach can have a tremendous impact on your moral, and can be so easily solved by having a simple survival meal on hand. It’s important to remember, grocery stores and convenience stores do not have much of an inventory beyond what’s on their shelves. Once it’s gone, it’s gone until the supply truck arrives. In a prolonged disaster situation, food will still become scarce, often for days, and people get violent when they’re hungry.
- Remember, the city is a lot bigger than it seems. Many motorist abandoned their gas-less vehicles, thinking they could walk to the rest of the way. In the age of cars, we are often unaware of true distances. We might commute 20 miles to work, average 50 MPH, taking just under 30 minutes in total, not too far away in our eyes. The same distance would take over 7 hours to walk. The average person walks at 2-3 MPH. So even if the next exit is only 5 miles away, it would still take you over 2 hours to get there. Something to consider when the weather isn’t so friendly…any why a comfortable pair of shoes is so valuable.
With some simple forethought and practical planning you can weather an unavoidable situation unscathed. Life if full of unpredictability, and relying on others to save you will only get you so far. Becoming self-reliant helps to remove the fear of uncertainty, and will give you’re the strength and confidence to help your fellow man in times of crises. We can’t all be helpless; survival doesn’t happen on accident.
Matt, an Independent American