Japan Crisis – Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Radiation – What Can We Learn?

Photo by Yahoo! 7 News

I suspect some of you have been wondering why SHTF Blog hasn’t devoted a post to the crisis in Japan yet. “Is SHTF Blog oblivious to world events?” you might ask. No, I’ve just been reluctant to “chase the news” so to speak, basically regurgitating news of the tragic events as though SHTF Blog readers can’t read the news on their own. I’ve seen some prepper sites that are publishing posts every moment a new detail is released, with the tone of their posts seemingly intended to drum up fear and paranoia. Then there are other prepper sites that are using the events to push a “this is why we prepare” justification. I see that as preaching to the choir. Most people reading this site already know the many reasons why anyone in their right mind should take reasonable preparedness measures for self, family and friends.

There are elements of the news stories that have caught my attention, however, elements that I think are worth noting here.

Private jet operators reported a surge in demand for evacuation flights which sent prices surging as much as a quarter. One jet operator said the cost of flying 14 people to Hong Kong from Tokyo was more than $160,000.”I got a request yesterday to fly 14 people from Tokyo to Hong Kong, 5 hour 5 minutes trip. They did not care about price,” said Jackie Wu, COO of Hong Kong Jet.

Many of the societal lessons that will be learned from this event will happen after the dust finally settles, when hindsight is 20/20; but for the prepper, watching the events unfold highlights a few lessons that can be reinforced (or re-learned) now.

  • People freak out! People in California buying and taking potassium iodide, forcing the City of Los Angeles Health Department to issue a notice advising people not to take potassium iodide. The Bush administration even made the controversial step of scrapping a plan to distribute potassium iodide to people in a zone extending between 10 and 20 miles from the site of a nuclear incident stating there are more effective responses like evacuation (read the White House memo here). (Read here for information about radioactive iodine exposure.) Do I recommend people have Potassium Iodide in their SHTF storage room? Sure – why not? But that doesn’t mean you need to freak out and unnecessarily loose your cool. Now is the worst time to buy them as prices are through the roof, and what supplies are available, should instead get sent to Japan.
  • The government is a questionable source of information! “Everything will be fine” seems to be the consistent government mantra during times of crisis and Japan’s government response is no exception. Then when things get worse, the government loses credibility making the situation even worse. The Japanese government is telling some people that they’re fine where they are while the U.S. government is telling Americans to get out now. I suspect if the nuclear crisis happened in the U.S., the U.S. would be telling people everything is fine and the Japanese would be telling their citizens to leave.

What do you think? Are there new preparedness lessons that can be learned from the crisis in Japan, lessons that haven’t been discussed before, or maybe new lessons to you?

One thing is for certain, these events will bring more attention and legitimacy to the practical preparedness movement.

– Ranger Man

BTW: if there was ever a reason for me to get a dog, the story of this Japanese dog refusing to leave the side of its ailing K9 friend is a good one. Read the English news article here, YouTube Japanese news story here, and view embedded Japanese story here: