We all know that living through a disaster means many of the things we take for granted (running water, medical assistance, access to gasoline and fresh food) will suddenly be in greater demand, especially by the unprepared, even as supplies simultaneously dwindle. But a recent report from the American Trucking Associations goes into terrifying detail in explaining its title: "When Trucks Stop, America Stops." The fragility of the systems we depend upon for the delivery of all we take for granted and the "just in time" aspect of inventory and demand make us more vulnerable than I can express.
According to the report, any such shut down whether triggered by natural disaster, terrorist attacks, or pandemics would have "a swift and devastating impact on the food, health care, transportation, waste removal, retail, manufacturing, and financial sectors."
Think I'm Chicken Little? (I've been called worse.) Consider this: A day after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, all transportation flow into the region was suspended, forcing hundreds of trucks loaded with emergency supplies to wait for permission before they could enter the area. As a result, thousands of residents of the city who were not prepared in advance were disenfranchised from all of the food, water and supplies that were essential for survival. That's just one city for a few days and we all know how that turned out.
If nothing else convinces you to prepare yourself this should do it. A few minutes to put a few things aside could mean the difference between life and death.
And get this: all of our just-in-time systems are built upon the concept of an unhindered transfer of money and credit. If that flow becomes restricted or money becomes worthless how will you pay for what you need the most? What is money when regular economies collapse? That's for another post. But I'll give you one word to ponder: Greece is the word.