Whether we realize it or not, each of us in the 1st world has allowed ourselves to become dependent on fragile systems, services, and supply chains. Much of the corporate world that provides these services has adopted a lean or “just-in-time” approach in order to reduce inventory and costs. They forecast demand, bring just enough in to meet that demand and avoid build up of inventory. This works fabulously… except when it doesn’t.
Reasons to start prepping
- In the southern United States, it is common for a grocery store to be nearly stripped bare in anticipation of a winter storm. Imagine if demand peaked for a longer duration.
- And speaking of grocery stores, in October, 2013, a computer glitch shut down Louisiana’s EBT cards which are used to distribute funds for food for the SNAP program (aka food stamps). This Walmart, in it’s desire to be a good corporate citizen, decided to honor EBT cards during the outage. The store was ransacked. Check out the news video. What if Walmart was the only place that had food and everyone was hungry?
- In September 2008, Hurricane Ike shut down oil refineries on the Gulf Coast. In typical lean, “just-in-time” fashion, gasoline inventories in Nashville, Tennessee were depleted once everyone began fearing a shortage. While 87 octane was plentiful within a week, it was a month or more before the premium grade required by more efficient vehicles was readily available Read the story on this self-fulfilling prophecy. And this was with little to no damage to the refineries.
- In May 2010, also in Nashville, Tennessee, 15 inches of rain fell in 36 hours, overwhelming the Cumberland RIver and feeders. One of two water treatment plants serving Metropolitan Nashville was overwhelmed by flood waters. Unfortunately, flood waters cannot be easily treated at home due to the sewage and chemicals that are in it. What about the other treatment plant? It was being sandbagged by county inmates as the flood waters came within a foot of overwhelming it too.
What are other times when critical services and supply chains have failed you personally? What are some of the “wake up call” reasons you started prepping?