I know, your favorite media personalities told you today that everything is fine, because the Russians are withdrawing and have announced that their exercises are over. I assure you, though, the Russians are indeed coming. I ask you to remember all the way back to last month, when Russia made a similar statement, yet never left. Also, just yesterday all the media companies breathlessly told you that an additional 14 BTG’s (Battalion Tactical Groups) were on the way to the border.
Russia is where tactical & strategic deception was born. Remember 2014, when Lavrov was telling everyone that he had no idea who the “little green men” crawling all over Crimea were? We learned a few days later that they were Russian Naval Infantry (Marines). Why does everyone keep taking them at their word? It’s Charlie Brown and Lucy Van Pelt with the football all over again.
The above satellite photo is over the Pripyat River in Belarus. The river is less than 10 miles from the Ukrainian Border, inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. 24 hours ago, there was no bridge. This photo shows a brand-new tactical pontoon bridge from the north side of the river to the south, in the direction of the border. If the exercises are over and the troops are leaving, why do they need a bridge in a remote area, heading to Ukraine?
The answer: The Russians are coming.
The prudent see danger and take refuge;
But the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
As I am writing this, there are internet outages and cyber-attacks on-going throughout Ukraine. They began this morning and have been getting worse.
OK, but what does this mean for us? There are a series of actions that I recommend everyone take immediately. The potential for Russian, Belarusian, or Chinese cyber-attacks in the US to slow our response is high. The US government has issued several urgent warnings about this in the past 48 hours. These attacks have the ability to impact your daily life.
In addition to attacks, the impact to the markets will be severe enough to impact your life. WTI Crude Oil is currently trading at $92 a barrel and hostilities will drive that above $100, causing high prices and long lines at the gas pump.
Let’s start there. I know I say it a lot, but it’s important. Fill up every vehicle and gas can that you have. Not just as a hedge against increased prices but remember the effects of the Colonial Pipeline hack. An attack against our electrical grid will also prevent you from getting gas out of the pumps as well. You will use the gas either way, so buying now just makes sense. Double check where your gas siphon pump is, and if you don’t have one, buy one.
Take some cash out of the bank to have it on hand. One target of hackers could be the payment processing systems or networks, which will not only prevent you from making credit and debit card purchases, but it will also disable ATM’s, making it impossible to later get cash. If nothing bad happens, you can always put the extra cash back. The opposite is not true.
Buy extra batteries. Even if nothing happens to the grid, batteries are good for a few years and it’s better to have them than not. Again, you’ll eventually use them either way. If you have rechargeable batteries, charge them all right now.
Check your pantry. You need to have at least 30 days of non-perishable food on hand. If you don’t, head to the grocery store or the dollar store and buy some. Like everything else, if you don’t need it now, you’ll eventually eat it. Also, make sure you have an alternate method of heating food, especially if you have an electric stove. You can start a gas stove with a match if needed.
As far as water, remember that you can’t store enough. Sure, fill every container and water bottle that you can, but understand that you need a source of on-going water, and you need the ability to purify water. The best way, despite our modern wizardry, remains bringing it to a rolling boil for a few minutes. You can also use filters or tablets if you choose but figure it out now.
A caution on water: If you still have water service, but the power is out, BOIL YOUR WATER first. When the power is out, the pressure system that prevents untreated and treated water from mixing can fail easily. It’s better to just boil water to be safe.
Pre-stage lanterns and flashlights throughout the house in case it’s dark when the power goes out. This can save you from a dangerous accident.
Ensure that you have fully stocked first aid kits. Check your home kits, your vehicle kits, and any first aid kits that you might have in your Get Home Bag or the like. Check the first aid kits in the building where you work. Consider these as “back up” kits. If the power goes out and things are bad, you can stock up your aid kit from them. If there are injuries at work from an incident before you leave to head home, use the work kit and not your own to treat any injuries.
Double check your Get Home Bag supplies. This would include making sure that you have a change of clothes/shoes if you work in dress clothes. The time to remember that you took a piece of kit out of the bag is not when you need the item.
It’s a good time to review your Get-Home Plan to make sure it’s still viable and makes sense. Make sure that someone else knows what your plan is in case you are overdue in getting home.
Reach out to your family and your preparedness group to verify communication plans. Ensure that everyone knows the proper channels and times to make contact and starts carrying their radio. That’s vital, a radio does you no good if it’s not carried. Also, develop a lost communications plan. For example, if no one has heard from each other in 4 days, they should all meet at a central location at a certain time. Keep your radios charged.
Ensure that you have at least some type of shortwave radio with SSB (Single Side Band) reception capability to learn about events from others. A better answer is a full-on amateur radio and license to communicate back and forth. Make sure this gear is fully charged.
Know where your main junction box, your gas connection, and your water connections are, so that you can turn them off if there are long term disruptions.
Finally, have a plan to deal with people behaving badly. You need a plan for security. Once you’ve prepared all these supplies, you need a plan to hold on to them. Your neighbors might be the nicest people today, but how will they be on their 5th day without food? Have a plan to keep a low profile, and a plan to defend yourself and your property. Don’t be afraid to protect yourself if it is needed.
Let’s all hope that no attacks happen here, but as I always say, remember that hope is not a successful strategy. Plan for the worse, and if nothing happens, then you are good. The opposite is not true.
I hope this helps you prepare for what might happen and triggers some thinking and action on your part.
As a reminder, our Companion Book, the Contacts and Notes notebook is available on Amazon.
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