Thinking Backwards with The Disaster Guy
Instead of asking, “Why should I put away food in case of an emergency?” – Think backwards. Ask, “What happens if I don’t have food put away for an emergency?”
— Could I catch a rabbit?
— Somebody will have to feed me.
— Maybe I’d starve.
— There will be nothing to eat until the emergency is over.
— My mother-in-law will have the last laugh.
Let’s try water. Think backwards on: “Why is a safe water supply important?” Ask, “What do I do if the water isn’t safe to drink?”
— Who has safe water to drink?
— Maybe I could boil the water.
— There’s water in the horse trough.
— Eventually I have to drink something anyway.
— Could I drink water from this stream?
— Is it better to get sick or dehydrated?
First aid is a tough topic. You might ask, “Where’s the doctor in an emergency?” Think backwards and ask, “What if there is no doctor?”
— Are any of my neighbors nurses or EMTs?
— What’s in my medicine cabinet?
— Wish I’d taken that first aid course!
— I hope nothing serious happens.
— If there’s no doctor, I’d have to handle it myself.
If your house was unsafe to live in, you could think backwards and ask, “If I can’t live in my house, what are my options?”
— What will it take to fix this house?
— Maybe I could sleep in the car.
— Maybe I can move in with relatives.
— Do my neighbors have room for me?
— Is there temporary housing anywhere?
We can’t assume that everyone will be home when an emergency hits. Instead of asking “Where are they?” – think backwards. Ask, “What can I do about people who weren’t home when the emergency began?”
— Can’t do much – take care of family at home first.
— Let everyone I meet know that I’m looking for them.
— Contact people outside emergency area to start looking for them.
— Maybe I can put a message on the message board in town.
— Does the Red Cross know where they are?
— Has the government set up a missing persons list?
Think backwards about: “What supplies can I buy in an emergency?” Ask, “Can I buy supplies in an emergency?”
— I should have bought this stuff before the emergency.
— Food and gasoline will go quickly.
— There will be a run on the stores.
— Firstest and strongest will get the mostest.
— It might turn into a riot.
Let’s think backwards on: “Why is reliable transportation needed?” Ask, “What happens if I don’t have any reliable transportation?”
— I can’t go anywhere.
— It’s a long walk to town.
— I might go somewhere, but I might not get back.
— Better inflate the tires on the bicycle.
— Can I ride a cow?
Even simple things like building a campfire can use the “Think Backwards” idea. Instead of asking, “How big a campfire should I build?” – Think backwards. Ask, “Can I build a campfire?”
— Is building a campfire a good idea?
— The last campfire I built was in Boy Scouts.
— Where am I going to get wood?
— Who’s going to keep the fire going at night?
— Does somebody have to watch the fire all night?
— If the fire spreads, can I extinguish it?
If the electricity goes off for a long time, your life will change. Instead of asking “What happens if the power goes off?” – Think backwards. Ask, “How did my great-great-grandparents live without electricity?”
— Life was simpler, but the crops had to grow and be harvested.
— Muscles replaced motors to get things done.
— Neighbors helped each other.
— Nobody had air conditioning or central heating.
— They didn’t stay up late watching TV.
— They didn’t miss electricity because they had never had it.
And finally, think backwards on this one: “What should I do in an emergency?” Ask, “What shouldn’t I do in an emergency?”
— Don’t panic.
— Don’t wait for someone else to come help you.
— Don’t expect to find your answers printed out on the Internet.
— Don’t stop thinking about how to handle things better.
— Don’t do anything to make things worse.
— Don’t forget to pray.
Thinking backward is a skill you’d do well to learn. The only thing better is acting forward, so you do the right things at the right time!
Kerry Cartier, the “Disaster Guy,” has been thought to be backward by a lot of folks. But he still has 160 tried-and-true tips that make disasters less disastrous. Check out his website at www.DisasterGuy.com. Contact him by e-mail.