Originally posted April 16, 2012.
As mentioned in part 1 of Night Fright, my three decades of living in hurricane-prone islands has given me first hand experiences to share with you. And I can tell you that when the juice snaps off, the game of life changes in a blink. It takes shockingly little time for panic to set in. In Key West, the languid loads of tourists and even more extremely laid-back citizens deem disaster preparation a badge of horror.
ATMs proliferate, but these things are among the first to go down, turning loads of people into instant cash orphans. In that credit/debit machines are also among the first casualties of power outages, many citizens are quickly invalidated at gas stations and food markets, soon to be cleaned out by cash-carrying customers.
All of this will happen fast, and mayhem ensues even during daylight. But in the blackness of night? Forget it. People quickly lose their personal compass and become unglued. When power outages drag on for days, conditions erode at frightening speed. Even though I have been through extended outages, I am always astounded at just how unprepared most people are and how civility evaporates with a snap of the fingers.
A power outage of a week is serious business. Casualties can spiral from minor to life threatening. I prepare for power outages lasting much longer than a week. I have explained to you my feelings on inertia and just how hard it really is to take the actions needed to protect your family. Disaster prep is a sticky wicket. Most people tend to give you the fish eye when the subject is broached. Who wants to spend a lot of time, effort and money on an event that may never happen? I am sympathetic to such feelings, but after getting stung a couple of times, the message has sunk in. Now I am prepared. For me, disaster prep is a work in process.
This summer will be a busy one as I beef up my preparations at both my island locations. I will have lots to share with you over the course of the summer. In advance, though, I want to get you going on my theme of “everything looks worse at night.” I have made a series of moves that allows me to deal with an extended power outage that might lead to serious nighttime concerns. I own a six-battery, extra-long Mag-Lite. This beast is useful as a short-range light as well as protection. It packs a punch. On my iPhone I have two different flashlight apps and a neat night vision app. Small beer, but already have proved useful.
Moving up the technology ladder, I have a high-end night vision instrument from Night Owl Optics (http://nightowloptics.com/), strictly for nighttime use. The U.S. military always has a leg up due to night vision optics. If you saw the movie Blackhawk Down, you know how crucial it is to be able to operate in the total darkness. Unfortunately, you also learn what it means to not be. Be sure to see Blackhawk Down, although I warn you that it is not easy to watch.
Next up the tech ladder is my ND-5 green laser locator from Laser Genetics (www.lasergenetics.com). The technology is referred to as Laser Genetics. The ND-5 is the ultimate partner for night vision optics. With its adjustable beam, it allows just the right amount of green laser light needed to illuminate any target at distances up to 500 yards. And the ND-5 is an easy-to-use handheld illuminator/locater.
As I have explained, I consider personal and financial security equal. The same risk analysis preparedness applies to personal security as well as financial security. With each, I am looking at the unknown and am creating a defensive barrier suitable to contend with maximum risk contingencies. This planning requires you to access your vulnerabilities and define your appetite for risk. The more averse to risk you are, the more your desire to seriously delve into the subject of vulnerability. You may never have considered personal and financial security to be intertwined, but I have found that the greater the level of a person’s paranoia, the greater the desire to reduce exposure to unpleasantries. My defensive preparedness has stood me well in the investment business for almost five decades.
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