In any major disaster or SHTF situation, there will always be two critical forces that respond: the government and you.
Knowing what the government will do and what you should do are both critical. You need to know what action the local, state, and perhaps the federal government will take so you know what to expect, and you also need to know what you must do before disaster strikes so you aren’t caught off guard.
Government Response to a Disaster
Government will always play a critical role before and during an SHTF situation from at least the local and state levels, and in a large enough catastrophe, from the federal level as well.
This step-by-step process of how government will usually react to large scale disasters should help clear things up for you:
First and foremost, the federal government will only lend assistance to the situation after an official request has been made by the governor of the state. The President of the United States will then have to make an official declaration of emergency, and at that point, the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will then react as quickly as they can to the disaster. The primary goal of FEMA is to provide relief to everyone who has been affected by the extent to the disaster.
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Before submitting a request for relief from the President, the governor of the state affected by the disaster will order a preliminary disaster report.The governor will then proceed to request that the President declare a state of emergency in the affected areas. It should be noted that while the governor can submit this request while the disaster is taking place, he or she can also submit the request before the disaster or when it is imminent (such as when it is obvious that a hurricane will soon strike the coastline).
Once the President has declared a state of emergency, he will be able to send funds to the local and state government to help provide relief to those affected. FEMA will engage the services of a dozen different departments at the federal level. The very act of the president declaring a disaster is a clear sign that the disaster is major and beyond the capabilities of the state or local government to handle in its own. In addition, the President will provide assistance to both private and public relief efforts.
The governor will also be able to request different kinds of assistance from the President.
There are also many different ways in which the Federal government will be able to provide assistance, including the following:
- Providing personnel, equipment, and supplies to help in the relief efforts
- Loans and Grants
- Technical assistance
Meanwhile, the state government will react to the crisis in the following ways:
- Reviewing and improving local response efforts
- Coordinating the state EOC to help in relief efforts
- Determining if more federal assistance is needed
- An activation of the state disaster preparedness plan (if a state of emergency is declared by the governor)
The federal government will only become a source of resources for local and state governments if the disaster is so severe that local and state governments cannot handle the situation on their own. FEMA will then coordinate the implementation of the FRP (Federal Response Plan), which allows states to then work with FEMA in accessing resources and programs from the government.
The FRP will also decide how the Federal agency resources and the American Red Cross can work together to provide relief to the site of the disaster. An EST (Emergency Response Team) will also be established in Washington to monitor the relief efforts from there.
These are the primary steps that governments will undertake in response to a disaster either before it happens or while it’s happening.
Your Response to the Disaster
Let’s say you’ll still be caught off guard, but you’ll at least have some time to make some preparations before the disaster comes to you:
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What To Do 2 Hours Before A Disaster
- Begin collecting as much water as you can by filling up your sinks, bathtubs, water containers, buckets, and anything else capable of storing water. Here’s how to build a water purification system in 10 minutes.
- Double check your home stockpile: water, food, medical equipment, ammunition, personal hygiene items, and so on. If you are lacking anything that’s absolutely necessary, then you should consider making a quick run to the grocery store.
- If you decide that you need to bug out, quickly conduct an inspection of your bug out bag and your bug out vehicle to make sure everything is present and in good working order.
- Most importantly, get in contact with each member of your family and have them meet you at your house.
What To Do 90 Minutes Before A Disaster
- Get as much cash as you can from ATM machine.
- Continue contacting more family members you haven’t gotten a hold of.
- This is your last chance to pick up any additional supplies that you may need, such as aluminum foil or fuel or ammunition or prescription medications.
What To Do 1 Hour Before A Disaster
- If you are going to bug in, begin placing your items at strategic locations. For example, have a bug out bag ready-to-go at the front door in case you need to suddenly evacuate without warning, and place firearms at key defensive locations in your home (depending on the situation). For example if a hurricane hits and you did not have time to evacuate, then get some of your supplies in the attic.
What To Do 30 Minutes To A Disaster
- If you are going to bug in, then it is no longer safe to go outdoors. You need to have everybody in your home with the doors locked.
- Have your emergency radio going to keep track of the news.
- Have somebody in your family on watch for signs of trouble outside of the house.
By Sarah Davis, Ask A Prepper
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