Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Understanding Distribution Could Save Your Life

If you are new to emergency preparedness planning for yourself or for your family, you may find it hard to understand why our government instructs us to have an emergency supply of no less than three days of food. They have a good reason. It all comes down to distribution. We recently had a record breaking snowstorm in Colorado, and what was the first thing the news began to report on? Grocery store food shortages and fear buying.

You might have also been intrigued with last night's episode of "Doomsday Preppers" which showcased an American trucker who mentioned how critical the trucking industry would be if a disaster would strike. Unfortunately, National Geographic missed the opportunity to really explain what would happen if our country suffered a breakdown in the distribution of goods.

In America, the majority of distribution across our country is done by the trucking industry. In fact, the American Trucking Associations states that nearly 70% of all commodities, including food, are moved by the commercial truck trade. So what does that mean to you and me if there's an emergency in our county or even in our country? It could mean the difference between life and death if commercial trucks have no access to distribute food and supplies to local businesses.

Think about it. If you and I can't access roads, neither can truckers. If they cannot get into your community, your local stores won't be able to restock their shelves. So if you do not prepare ahead of time by having emergency food and supplies on hand now before an emergency, you will definitely put yourself or your family members in danger of going without water, food or even help for medical needs.

Maybe you think a disaster would never hit your neighborhood. Maybe you think you have enough food and water on hand right now to get by for three days. Maybe you think if something bad did happen your neighbors or family would help you. That's a lot of maybe's to count on. Even the American Trucking Associations, not just FEMA, says don't count on maybe, but instead expect that there will be shortages in the time of a crisis and that if there was a terrorist attack or pandemic the government's restriction of trucker's movement could worsen an already dire situation. In my opinion, three days is a good start, but even that might not be enough.

Need a reason to begin preparing for an emergency? Don't just take my word for it, or FEMA's word for it, listen to the truckers who deliver the supplies that our entire country uses every day. Below are some of the main points the American Truckers Associations say you should expect to happen in the event of an emergency. Then read more, go here for the entire detailing of "When Trucks Stop, America Stops."

Their report states, "The American Trucking Associations researched seven key consumer industries to quantify the potential consequences of restricting or halting truck traffic in response to a national or regional emergency." Here's what their tells us to expect:
  • Significant shortages will occur in as little as three days, especially for perishable
    items following a national emergency and a ban on truck traffic. Minor
    shortages will occur within one to two days.
  • Consumer fear and panic will exacerbate shortages.
  • Consumer behavior during emergencies triples the rate of inventory turn-over.
  • Supplies of clean drinking water will run dry in two to four weeks.
  • Without truck transportation, patient care within the truck stoppage zone will be
    immediately jeopardized.
  • Hospitals and nursing homes will exhaust food supplies in as little as 24 hours.
  • Pharmacy stocks of prescription drugs will be depleted quickly.
  • Hospitals and other diagnostic and treatment facilities will exhaust supplies of
    radiopharmaceuticals and oxygen.
  • Service station fuel supplies will start to run out in just one to two days.
  • Within days of a truck stoppage, Americans will be literally buried in
    garbage with serious health and environmental consequences.
  • Uncollected and deteriorating waste products create rich breeding grounds
    for microorganisms, insects, and other vermin. Hazardous materials and
    medical waste will introduce toxins as well as infectious diseases into living
  • Just-in-time manufacturers will shut down assembly lines within hours.
  • ATM and branch bank cash resources will be exhausted quickly.
  • Regular bank functions will cease.
Their detailing of what to expect is a wake up call for all of us, but it shouldn't make us panic. That's why we need to be ready now. We cannot wait until the storm is at our back door for us to run to the store. So don't fear the worst, just prepare for the worst so you are ready now for any emergency.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent information, most of which I knew from my son the OTR trucker. I am so glad to see this being discussed. The more people who prepare, the less severe the consequences of a shut-down. okiewife