Expert: “What People Have Got to Know is That They’re On Their Own, Literally…”

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Top Tier Gear USA
(Pictured: Help is not coming. Sandy victims rummage through trash for food in Bayonne, NJ)

Over coming weeks millions of Americans will be tuning in to NatGeo’s new American Blackout film about surviving in a post-power grid collapse environment that lacks electricity, fresh water and the normal flow of commerce.

For most it will be nothing more than standard evening entertainment, but what if such an event turns out to be a future American reality?

Such a scenario may seem improbable, but just in the last several years we’ve seen it play out time and again all over the world, albeit in situations limited in time and scope. Hurricane Katrina and over 50,000 people stranded at the New Orleans Super Dome with no water, Hurricane Sandy and starving individuals rummaging through garbage cans to find a morsel of food, and various other natural and man-made disasters are an eye-opening testament to what happens when the improbable becomes reality.

Just a few weeks ago we saw what the panicked hive mentality can lead to when thousands of people stormed Walmart grocery stores following a breakdown in the Electronic Benefit Transfer system for food assistance.

We’ve become so dependent on others – namely our governments – to assist us when crisis strikes, that this “learned helplessness” in our society has left people in major cities totally unprepared to cope with disasters.

Via ABC News Australia:

“What people have got to know is that they’re on their own, literally on their own,” he said.

“We can’t have a truck or a car at your door when you ring triple-0 in a disaster situation.”

Experts say people should be prepared to look after themselves for at least three days after any major disaster.

But Mr Winter says most people have no plans in place.

“If we turn off power and water, how long will you be able to survive?” he said.

“When we put to people, ‘Can you survive for 72 hours without external help?’, the reaction is their jaw drops.”

Such a disaster could mean a loss of refrigeration, no tap water or air-conditioning, as well as transport failures and traffic chaos.

Mr Winter says cities are particularly vulnerable to these failures.

“We are more vulnerable in our big cities because we’ve got transport, we live in high rises, evacuations – talk to people about Katrina, in New Orleans, getting people out of the city,” he said.

In 2009, a heatwave in Melbourne killed more people than the Black Saturday bushfires.

Triple-0 emergency lines were overwhelmed, hospitals overflowed and the ambulance service was near breaking point after 12 days of temperatures above 28 degrees Celsius.

“When flooding was occurring, people went to the grocery store and bought frozen goods,” he said.

“Frozen goods are the first things that you have to throw out. You want people to understand that they’ve actually got to live without the capacity to flick on the light switch or the electric stove or the gas stove.

“People misunderstand what is likely to occur when they are affected by the disasters.”

Mr McGowan warns that the Government’s emphasis on cash handouts after disasters is part of the problem.

“Some of the more recent concentrations on hardship payments and those things have actually started to increase the learned helplessness that many feel during these issues,” he said.

Just 14 per cent of compensations payouts after the Brisbane floods was spent fortifying homes against similar disaster in the future.

Given the number of natural and man-made disasters that strike areas of the globe on a yearly basis, there’s a strong likelihood that one day it may happen to you, too.

Hopefully the disaster will be limited, but even in those cases the government is often overwhelmed. If you think about the possibility of a larger scale emergency, for example a cyber-attack that cripples our power grid as former DHS Secretary Napolitano suggested will happen in the future, there is simply no possible way for first responders to assist everyone who will need help.

Consider that FEMA has stockpiled at least 140 million emergency food rations in their regional emergency response centers. If a large earth quake, Tsunami or rogue terrorist attack struck a population of 1 million people, those supplies would likely be gone within a month – and that’s a best case scenario because FEMA would have to tap regional distribution centers to acquire supplies from all over the country.

It took them 3 days to get water to the Super Dome, if that gives you any ideas of how disorganized emergency response will be.

Given that the United States has over 50 metropolitan areas with populations exceeding 1 million people, you can see how the situation would quickly become untenable if disaster struck just a single major city or region. If it were to go national, striking multiple cities simultaneously, we’d have complete and total pandemonium within a few days.

The only plausible solution, and one that FEMA and DHS fail to support in any significant manner, is personal preparedness. Every household in this country should be urged to develop a personal preparedness plan by stockpiling food rationspotable watersurvival tools, and even precious metals like silver bars to help them cope for at least a few weeks should our power grid go down and traditional commerce exchange mechanisms become inoperable. Those who fail to do so will have to deal with the horrific consequences.

Americans have been given a false sense of security through the learned helplessness of government assistance programs and the belief that the billions of dollars being invested into emergency planning is somehow going to provide the necessary supplies they’ll need if crisis strikes.

It’s a recipe for disaster.

We’re not immune from a massive destabilizing event. In fact, we’re likely more vulnerable now than ever before.

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Contributed by Mac Slavo of

When it hits the fan, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Mac Slavo is the editor of, a resource hub for alternative news, contrarian commentary and strategies that you can take to protect yourself from the coming global paradigm shift.

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  • xxxmn

    Read the book “One second after”
    For a true account of what would happen

  • lateToTheParty

    The movie was very light handed in my opinion – a happy ending in 10 days for complete grid down, IMHO, is a fantasy. But – the end result of the apartment dwelling couple and the well shown attitude “I don’t normally sue, but this requires it” from the “alpha” male apartment dweller made me roll on the floor laughing. Caviar is NOT a SHTF food. 🙂

    I didn’t like the ‘prepper’ side of the story – he was too tunnel-visioned to see multiple people gaining access to his bug out location. (“Head for the hills!”) If people even think you have food, their numbers will come. Be prepared mentally and defensively.

    All in all it was a good thing for people who don’t think in terms of prepping to watch: Your neighbor isn’t going to care whether you have 2 kids when he has 4 to feed, a fire department without water is ‘dead in the water’, and having no form of defense will certainly invite trouble if not lead to death. Also, the not so loudly spoken comment “Strength in Numbers” comes through watching the lone wolves die when people who cooperated fared better.

    It’s on again Tuesday and probably next weekend – tell your non-prepper family and friends to watch. (Just do continue good OPSEC and say “No, we haven’t started yet, want to go shopping with us when we do?” Most of them will figure if they never hear, you never did and those that join you make you stronger.)

  • Hammerun

    This is a simplistic test for those that want to know how long you would last.
    You have to be very honest with yourselves.
    How long would it be before you had to go to the store and get something?
    Milk, eggs, meat, whatever. For the most part, about two days.
    How long would it be until you ran out of primary food staples?
    This one will be about six to ten days.
    How long would it be before you flat ran out of anything to eat?
    Ten to fourteen days.
    What if the grocery stores closed up, right now today without any warning? And didn’t open up again.
    This is where the self honesty part comes into play.
    We have a very delicate food chain supply system in this country. If you haven’t ever heard of it’s called “just in time delivery”.
    Groceries stores don’t warehouse anything anymore. They get deliveries mostly every other day.
    The distribution centers know in advance what is needed and where and how many. An order is generated and goods are transported on the appropriate day of arrival.
    Disturbed for two days the entire DC system will be set back seven days. Seven days will turn into twenty one days and so on.
    You know those nasty old trucks that seem to be always in your way on the roads?
    Grocery appointments are set by the hour for these guys. Miss one it will put you back two days. Especially appointments like Costco, Sams club, Kroger, albertsons, all major grocery retailers.
    There is so many things that could disturb our food systems and everyone should be very aware of it.

  • Plan Twice, Prep Once

    Not seen on most prep lists
    1. For your house: A couple sheets of plywood to repair broken doors and windows.
    2. For your bug to bag: your last best pair of eyeglasses. Your last best cell phone charged and with the info to activate it.
    3. For your house a gallon or two of winterizing antifreeze for sink ant toilet traps, most RV and boat suppliers sell it. In the cold I could be restricted to the one or two rooms nearest my fireplace. I the means in place to shut off and drain pipes for other unheated parts of the house, and prevent freezing damage to plumbing.
    4. Install a couple solar outdoor security lights that can work for years with no power.
    5. Plumbing drain plugs. In a flooding situation you can seal first floor drains in showers etc to keep sewage out. Water damage is bad enough but when the hurricane is coming, I am ready to pull up the toilets and plug the pipes. open traps and plug pipes in just minutes. $15 bucks bought all the plugs I need, they hang on a hook by the water supply inlet.

    • nyquil762

      What size drain plugs did you get? Thanks and be well, nyquil762

  • old guy

    Movie sucked. the mamby pamby ending was stupid. Just because the electric came back on. Suddenly the folks where not hungry and didn’t want the gas they where stealing.

    • TAG

      I thought so to. I think it is going to be a little worse than they portrayed.

  • TAG

    I have never understood why people DON’T stock up for a disaster. Like they can’t eat it at a later date? I know, at any given time, I am good for at least 3 months if not 6. I never have to run to the store because I am out of something. I just pull it off the shelf and make a note to replace it. It always amazes me during disasters like Katrina and Sandy, people are starving and without water in a couple of days! That is pathetic and clearly shows a lack of common sense. Believe what you want but when the SHTF your benefits by the government won’t be there. Wake Up America!

  • rossco peco

    That’s why I have two large dogs. If I run out of food I will eat the older one first he is about 80lbs he so should last me awhile. Im pretty sure I could survuve almost a week on my puppys. After that I would probably canabalize my children that seems reasonable. I mean in a situation like this you have too. Also my kids all look about the same so if I eat one my wife and I can just have another kid when the light turn back on. As for my bug out bag. I have filled it with fruit roll ups and smore pop tarts cause they are my Fav. And if Im walking around in the apocolptic end times I need my comfort food. Im pretty sure 72 hours after the lights go out the world will resemble a MadMax situation and I may need to fight in the thunder dome so I have crafted a chainmail armor with leather chaps a cast iron breast plate and a top hat. Its really fantastic.Remember you never know when it will strike and not being prepared is not an excuse.