If there were an occasion in which our nation’s communications systems were disabled for more than 24 hours on a weekday, you would see the first domino fall in the creation of a complete financial collapse. We are painfully reliant on our communication systems to keep our nation financially afloat. Land lines, internet, cell phones. These inventions have become the heart of our economy. Our health care system. Our banking system. Our trade system.
Having participated in the commercial finance industry for years, I had opportunity to consult in one of the highest echelons of commercial finance—you know the one where folks are dropping the word “billion” as casually as they order lunch. Whether you realize it or not, a great deal of our economic strength comes from the manipulation of seconds and small margins of profit on large sums of money. If communication lines were down and trades could not be executed, our nation would lose billions of dollars which would easily domino into trillions in less than 24 hours—and that’s just in the trading world. As you are aware, now is not a time in which our tenable economy could handle such a hit from a communication collapse.
Now let’s look at the great financial impact that would be felt by all of the other businesses in our nation. Deals would not be closed. Shipments of medical supplies, necessary hardware equipment, fuel, and food would not be requested or sent out. Credit cards would not be processed for payments. Just as so many consumers live hand to mouth or paycheck to paycheck, so do the majority of businesses in our nation. One day of communication collapse in which they are cut off from communication with their suppliers and their banks would literally be catastrophic.
Then there’s the world that may hit a little closer to home for you in a communication collapse. 9-1-1 would be useless. News updates would not be received. Even if we had electricity to watch the television, we wouldn’t know what was occurring right in our own backyards without the critical resource of communication. Without your cell phones, internet, and land lines, how would you locate your children who are usually scattered in all directions at any time of the day? How would you check up on your elderly parent? How would you coordinate with the rest of your family to ensure their safety and well being?
Out of all 10 areas of Emergency Preparedness, the component of communication is the only one in which you’re reaching out to others. And yet, as you can see, it’s not an area that can be taken for granted. Your primary concern in an emergency will not be what’s in your bank account. It won’t be how much food you have on your shelves. It will be about the well being of those you love. Thus you MUST have prearranged plans of action for how you will communicate and gather in the event of an emergency and subsequent communication collapse. If it is to be a long-term scenario, you must even have a plan for family members that live far from you. Will you all gather to a particular location? Will you get communication through to each other in a different medium? Taking a few moments to discuss these plans will save you and everyone else in your life a lot of stress and worry. And more importantly, it could save lives. Being at the right place at the right time is critical in surviving an emergency. Discuss this plan regularly with your family and close friends.
On a lighter note, I have been stocking up on pencils, pens, and paper during these “school sales.” (It’s not hard when the pencils are selling for 25 cents a package, pencil sharpeners are only 10 cents, and note pads are only 1 cent.) What may seem trivial now, may be highly valuable in a world in which we can no longer rely on our traditional means of communication. Also, protecting our HAM radio and ensuring proper licensing and skills to use it is a critical part of that plan as well. (Now, if I could just get the rest of my family on board with that, I’ll sleep much better.)
Take a moment to stop and plan for an instance in which your communication methods are interrupted. You’ll be SO glad you did!
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