Interesting article by someone who thought they were prepared for disaster when the storm hit Puerto Rico and what they experienced in the aftermath.

The observations of the behavior of others and their own experiences are useful information to folks who themselves want to be prepared for emergencies.

Four items struck me as of particular interest:

1. Communications Infrastructure Vulnerability
The high tech system like cell phone and internet were apparently the first to fail. Those are the system most people rely on today for information and the ability to communicate with others. I think he errs in believing that the older wired phone systems would be much better. While at one time they were very physically robust the old mechanical switches and electrical parts of the phone system have been replaced with computerized digital hardware which is, itself, just as vulnerable as cell phone and the internet.

Perhaps more attention needs to be paid to have older, more traditional means of gathering information such as short wave radios and a way to power them. For those who have the knowledge perhaps ham radio equipment? But at least a short wave that can be powered by a crank or batteries and some general familiarity with actually using a shortwave to gather information.

Many years ago before the internet I was an avid shortwave listener and found it fascinating to listen to news sources all around the world. Even today I still spend an hour or so in the evening every month or two just working through the dial, adjusting an antenna to see what is out there on the shortwave bands. Might be a fun and entertaining family activity on occasion… Shortwave Night. Radio Havana has some great Cuban music. Shortwave stations are free… well except for the price of hearing the propaganda of whatever country is hosting the station.

2. The Author WAS Prepared and Fared Well Compared to Most.
He points out that compared to most others he and his immediate group fared pretty well. They had power, water, food, shelter and, with some work, at least some communications.

3. Water Was Key
They had access to water and a way to purify it. He made note of the way that many other were stopping to collect spring water since the normal sources of safe water were gone. As it is often said “You can go 3 weeks without food but only 3 days without water.”

4.The End Game
He and his immediate group seem to have finally been able to escape the situation there and flee to a part of the world which had not endured such devastation. Which immediately brings to mind, to me at least, what if they hadn’t?

I imagine decisions were made at the time based on the knowledge that soon they would be able to escape the situation in which they were in. I wonder how those decisions would have been affected if they knew they would NOT be able to escape the situation or that there was no where to which TO escape.

What if, as in the case of a solar EMP there was NOT A PLACE to which to flee and the situation they were in was the situation everywhere and for the indefinite future?

The Librarian

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