A Prepper’s Nightmare

Any prepper worth their weight will scenario plan.   Mental rehearsal is important.  As an educator, I have studied brain-based research as it pertains to education.

In my studies, I have learned that the brain doesn’t distinguish between reality and imagination.  If you doubt this, recall the last time you had a nightmare.  You most likely woke up sweating and your heart beating fast.  It was only when your brain entered the fight or flight response that you woke up and realized you weren’t in your dream scenario.

If your imagination can seem so real in your dreams, it can be helpful for scenario planning (mentally rehearsing) a scene over and over so you can be comfortable to react in a survival situation.

I have mentally rehearsed many survival scenarios.  In all these scenarios, I would love to be in my home when it all hits the fan.  But that would be too easy!  In reality, I realize I won’t have the luxury of deciding where I will be when the poop hits the fan.  And that is the reason why I mentally rehearse my worst case scenario situation.

I am an elementary school administrator.  When I think of scenarios, being at the school, with hundreds of 5-10 year olds, and I mean hundreds as in closer to one thousand, is a scary thought.  On one hand, I have three kids of my own, and on the other hand, I’ll be partially responsible for a bunch of kids and staff.

Now if by survival scenario I mean hurricane, severe storm, economic collapse, terrorist threat, or something like that, I will truly breathe easier.  All these scenarios wouldn’t be fun.  But those wouldn’t be my nightmare scenario….not by far.

My worst nightmare scenario would be an EMP….at school…on a school day…with a bunch of kids.

I know what   I would do if I was anywhere other than the school on a school day.  The minute I realized all electronics were fried, I would grab my get home bag and huff it home and hunker down.  I would do this while everyone else is looking at each other trying to find out what just happened.

But back to the nightmare…  The school is out in the suburbs of a big metroplex.  Parents work all over the place!  Even if they could get a grip on what happened, and weren’t waiting around for the “power” to come back on, it would take hours…long precious hours for them to get back to the neighborhood and school!  And that is a best case scenario.  What am I going to do with all these kids?

The district isn’t prepared for this.  I had a chance to talk to the head of security for the district a while back.  I casually asked about standard operating procedure for emergencies situations.  He mentioned that the district and each school have plans in case of emergencies.  I know the handbook that he is talking about.  It deals with hurricanes, tornado’s, lock-down, etc…  The fact is, there is no plan for an EMP.

Let’s say that I still have kids a couple of days into this scenario.  My school is in an affluent neighborhood.  However, a few miles down the road, the demographic changes drastically.

Because I have attended meetings that detail gang activity in our district, I know that they have guns.  What is going to happen after a few days when there is no electricity, no food (for those who haven’t prepared) and no water, because the pumps aren’t working?  They are going to move towards the more affluent neighborhoods looking for what they don’t have.

So what am I going to do?  I got into elementary education for a reason.  I care about kids. That, coupled with my Christian faith, pretty much means that I can’t just leave these kids to fin for themselves.  I would have to stay until students got home.  My family knows to make it home and hunker down until I get there.

What can parents do to prepare for this worst case scenario or something like this?

  1. Ask a trusted stay-at-home mom/neighbor if you can add them to your child’s emergency contact list, allowing them to pick your child up from school in case of an emergency.  Most schools have backup paper copies of emergency contacts in case computers are down.  If you get caught far from home, at least you will know that your child is picked up from school and with a trusted neighbor.  This will take a little bit of stress off your mind as you make it back home.
  2. Teach your kids how to walk home from school.  What if the administrators at your child’s school freak out and leave all the kids by themselves as they make it back to their homes or child’s school to pick them up?  Kids today are playing too many electronic games or texting.  They are not paying attention out the car window and have no sense of which way to go home.  Also, make sure they know how to get in the house if you are not there.
  3. Teach your kids the signs of an EMP attack.  Of course, I wouldn’t go into the whole End of the World As We Know It speech.  But I would make sure that they know that if all electronics are not working: lights, cellphones, electronic games, etc.. that it is an emergency and they need to get home.  Be careful to distinguish between a storm kicking off the power and EVERY electronic device being down.  I believe average 3rd – 5th graders could understand this.  Some of your more gifted younger students can understand it too.
  4. Ask an administrator about what would happen in a scenario like this.  You would need to know the administrator very well so that you are not labeled a kook!  Or, blame an article that someone passed along to you about schools during an EMP attack and that  it got you thinking! J  At least it might get the conversation started.
  5. Lastly, mentally rehearse your plan for yourself and your family in this or any other survival situation.  Knowing what you would do in a given situation might give you the edge to survive and save your loved ones.

I truly hope that this nation never suffers an EMP attack.  But I don’t want to be caught unaware and uninformed.  Thinking through scenarios like this is a worthy task.  It is even worth it to talk through some of your scenarios with trusted friends.  They might see something that you don’t or vice versa.  Any time spent on walking through, imagining scenarios, will pay-off with an instant plan and what-to-do if it is ever needed.

T in Texas

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6 thoughts on “A Prepper’s Nightmare”

  1. Good article. Just a reminder friends, since we are in Fall, now is the time to check and preppare your winter preps, winterizing your GHB’s, BOB’s, Vehicle survival kit etc.

  2. Great article!

    I remember discussing EMP with my then teenage daughter and caught an eye roll. Not long later 9/11 happened and as we were living in the general area of Pantex, I had the wife take our kiddos out of school and go to the ranch which was 100 miles away and out of the potential plume. The school administrators actually tried to give my wife grief over taking the kiddos from school just because a couple of buildings were hit by airplanes in the Big Apple. Didn’t go over well for the former police woman and she departed with the kiddos.

    The wife and children stayed at our ranch for about a week before returning to our Amarillo residence. By then everyone had a glimmer of how bad it was and how worse it could have been.


  3. My Son ( now a junior in HS) and I started discussing this back when he was still in Middle School. . we talked about various routes to get home, he planned to bring several of his best buds (who lived further away) home with him- we figured safety in numbers. . . and he and his friends have already discussed shooter scenarios, etc. on their own. They are not unaware. and shake their heads at the majority of their sheeple classmates, and teachers, for that matter. The Vice Principal at his HS is ex-military, and strikes me as someone aware of how things are. I think competent school administrators (often an oxymoron) could play an important role in a SHTF incident occuring during school hours

  4. I suggest that – assuming the child is old enough and focused enough – the best option would be intelligent, independent action. All the school personnel I’ve ever dealt with have been the “let’s wait until someone tells us what to do” types. That can easily be a fatal mistake. School personnel will be extremely reluctant to allow independent action, so your child, first, needs the capability to act intelligently and independently, and second, is willing to subvert “the system” to take that action.

    A couple bottles of water in his/her locker, some small bills and quarters (some pay phones may still work), a tightly folded rain poncho in a freezer bag, a sealed package of food (an MRE comes to mind, but the child will tell you what he/she likes), a map (even if it’s hand drawn) and some written instructions (“if you can’t reach Mom/Dad, go to Mrs. Smith’s house;” Billy, Suzy and Joe etc. live down the street, come home together”). Some of those items will be regarded as contraband by school personnel.

    Way back when, we either walked or bicycled to schools a number of times early in the school year so each child knew where home was in relation to school, the best route to take, and the route(s) to avoid, between the two.

    Remember, “planning” is not a four-letter word.

  5. I would agree with the author about real and imagined. He doesn’t say much about why and how to use it for yourself. We have all practiced drawing and firing, until you do it an don’t think about it right? it does does and goes what and where you tell it. It doesn’t require thought. Chemically and psychologically that because you establish neural pathways. Like walking down the grass between you and the barn. Walk it several times a day and now you don’t think about where to go or how and it’s much easier. That is awesome, if you trained in good habits. Bad habits train in the same way. You can train over bad habits, and replace them, but when tired or hurt they can come back, so it’s better to do it right the first time. Let me know if you figure out how. 🙂
    The psychology books say you must vividly imagine it.. for imagination to be the programmer. While not as good as repetition, it is better than nothing for sure. At least you can have the pathways for the thought processes. Same thing though. Imagine it incorrectly and it can be harder to overcome it when reality hits and the thinking doesn’t match it. If you add dedicate thinking, and add in sound, smells, and talk your thoughts through in an out-loud voice it makes a greater impact. It’s why meditation with incense, music and mantras works .. supposedly. The only time I can accomplish that kind of thinking is right before bed … sleep usually takes over before I finish .. go figure. ha! I will say it often leads to lucid dreams.. so keep a pen and paper by the bed .. soem of the better list items or ideas come from there. have fun with it ..


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