Prep Lessons From Around the Globe – PART 1 – Haitian Earthquake

Always be learning.

In January of 2010 Haiti was rocked by a 7.0 Earthquake. It is estimated that 250,000 homes and 30,000 businesses were physically destroyed. The following is a list I compiled of lessons learned from survivors and first responders.


Assume destruction of transportation routes and plan for it.

Assume that some, if not most, survivors will ‘go rogue’ within 72 hours at the max, probably sooner.

— I would amend this to project that lifestyle criminals will go rogue within 24 hours due to the lack of LEO response. Lots of violent score-setting with other habitual criminals, plus looting, plus other violent crimes.

The rioting started in earnest yesterday. To the gentleman who started another thread on this sub-section a few days ago asking why survivalists seem so preoccupied with firearms, here’s your answer. The majority of people are unprepared for anything. In Haiti they sat around for a couple of days waiting for someone to bring them food and water. When that did not happen fast enough the looting began. That, even though they know that the civilized nations of the world are mobilizing to help them. Now transpose that situation to a major long term disaster here in the States, where there may not be any hope of anyone bringing anybody any food or water. Combined with the fact that people here are so used to getting what they want when they want it. I doubt it would take a couple of days. Think Katrina. The reason we discuss firearms a lot is that everything else we have is worthless without them.

— I would guess that government dependents will go rogue somewhere between 48 and 120 hours. How rogue, I do not know. I would expect a lot of looting and other property crimes, some scuffles and fistfights, and the occasional ADW during a conflict over stolen goods.

Water collection and purification are definite musts.

Tools for clearing debris and shoring up shelter will be important.

Sanitation from keeping clean to waste disposal could be a life-saver.

Don’t live in cesspools of crime, corruption and poverty, and avoid visiting if at all possible

—fragile infrastructure and neighbors who aren’t amenable to pulling through together

Be prepared for whatever disaster is likely in your AO and assume NO OUTSIDE ASSISTANCE. This includes public water supplies, electricity, natural gas, and gas stations.

Sanitation and waste disposal.

Do not get caught up in bad lines of people and government handouts.

Avoid any place people speak French

“Money is worth nothing right now, water is the currency.” Foreign aid worker in Haiti quoted by Reuters

You need people in your preps youre not gonna be able to do this alone at all.

Stock up on more antibiotics. It would suck to survive a firefight only to die from infection by a minor cut.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! If you have all your preps in your basement, and your house collapses… you’re in deep shit.

If you keep packed BOB’s, don’t leave them in an interior room! They should be as close to the most commonly used door in your home as you can manage, and preferably also near a window (in case that door is blocked/damaged- by fire, quake, whatever).

For those who live in cities or closely populated areas, it would be wise to know where the nearest creek or lake is,  and how to use “expedient means” to purify water.

And if you happen to live near “resources” (ie: stores or buildings containing usable supplies), be ready to get out of there in one hell of a hurry – theyre looter magnets, and it’s obvious that many people will kill for even the smallest (and most useless) things.

Never live anywhere where food, water and other necessary or comfort items must be imported or expensively obtained.  Islands are great places to visit; I just wouldn’t want to live there.

Stay very close to CNN reporters. They will save your butt in a jiffy.

On Day 4 there was a report on Fox that “tens of thousands are moving into the countryside.” It seems that by the third day when desperation finally set in, people started moving out. This tells me that those on the outskirts of ground zero have 2 days to brace and 4 days before you are over run. The further out you are the better but, prepare for the masses and look at moving out further if you are close enough for foot traffic to reach you. This might change in an all over collapse, but even then it is going to be worse in metro areas and will still apply to some extent.

I always thought whistles in emergency kits were stupid but seeing how many people became trapped in the rubble…perhaps carrying a noisemaker, like an emergency whistle would give you a better chance of getting rescued after an earthquake?

The Puerto Rican papers are reporting that the Haitian police told neighborhoods to barricade entrances to the communities and kill machete armed looters bc if they didn’t the thugs would just return the following day. I also saw on CNN (FOX not in the hotel systems here) that starting a day or two ago people who had money on them when the earthquake hit are now able to buy from makeshift roadside markets.


And lets keep this in perspective too. The biggest difference of all.. Haiti is socialist, Dominican Republic is capitalist. Same island, different cultures. Notice how little, if anything, was said about the plight of the people in the DR. How little damage they had from properly constructed buildings.

There is a big governmental influence of how the people live/survive/recover. A third world crap hole country that has only ever known poverty with little infrastructure is not going to fare as well as a somewhat more developed nation. I think the examples of mob psychology are still valid for all countries though. Some good people were effected by the pieces of crap all sharing the same background in haiti.

Water is everything.  Storage cannot be your only option.  You must also make plans for procuring potable water from existing sources – desalinization included if that is an option in your AO.

American forces were not the object of hostilities, at least not intentionally as far as I know, but Haitian on Haitian violence was rampant in the first few weeks after the quake and the destruction of all manner things and the impact that that destruction had on the kids made Port au Prince very much akin to a war zone.

Guns are both a benefit and a liability.  They can keep you alive and help you retain your resources but they also might bring down the heavy response of the security forces called in to stabilize a situation.  These forces may or may not be interested in making any kind of informed determination about who’s who and what’s what.  LE’s response to Katrina is evidence of this.  Mass disasters are fluid, kinetic and emotionally charged for the both the victims and the responders.  Plan accordingly.

Have a rally point that your entire family knows to go to in case of a mass disaster and be prepared for your landscape to be rendered both unrecognizable and nearly untraversable depending on what’s happened and plan your rally point’s location accordingly.

Always be learning.



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