A Special Forces Operator’s Perspective

As I sit here at my computer, I can see a slow-moving wildfire consuming thousands of acres and destroying small towns. On the first day, it began with 50 acres; an hour later it had doubled, and over night it grew into the thousands. Currently, the fire is 10-percent contained in high winds with tens of thousands of acres scorched, and dozens of houses reduced to ashes. The place resembles a war zone, reminding me of early-morning sunrises in Iraq while coming out of Sadr City after nighttime raids. Most undoubtedly we would take casualties from IEDs or EFPs, which were directional-charged IEDs that were more lethal than traditional IEDs. Many times we killed and or captured dozens of Shia militia terrorists.

The sky near Jackson, California is filled with smoke, the sun red like a small difused light bulb only seen after deliberate scanning. The sky is filled with aircraft; 737s, C-130s, Chinooks, Hueys, everything you could imagine, all being flown in support of containing and extinguishing the blaze. Without any real warning, the wildfire exploded into a natural disaster, displacing entire towns. People were left wandering the streets looking for refuge in established shelters; some showered at local gyms, and many more were left without power, and had nowhere to go. 

The premise of this lesson in the making is this: What is the makeup of a disaster? What does it mean to you? Typically disasters outside of your realm or reality is little more than a passing news story, another tragedy that someone else has to deal with. I look at these media snippets as lessons learned, and potential planning considerations in a broader conversation. I devise a plan of execution to secure what’s most important to me. Everyone has different guages of what’s most important to them. For some, it’s the tangible things like the car in their garage, the guns in their safe, or the jewelry in the box on their dresser.  For me, it’s the preservation of life and my family's lives including household pets.

To me, the only thing that matters is protecting the health and welfare of my loved ones and I take that role VERY seriously. A close friend once told me, “A ‘prepper' is always the crazy guy until a disater. Then he's the genius.” It's true isn't it? In a natural disaster the biggest issue of assumption within the genreral population is the government will help us because it's their responsibility. The firefighters, the police, the National Guard, the active military - they will save us because it’s their duty. 

But is it it truly their duty? That’s a debatable question. Look how law enforcement officers are treated in this country; convicted by the media and the public without a trial like in Ferguson and Baltimore. Completely underpaid and understaffed, often outgunned, and commonly under appreciated. Would you as a police officer, in a natural disaster, drop everything and leave your family to save others?

What you must understand while engaged in the quest to become prepared, is the government - the people who are paid by the taxpayers to serve and protect - are just average people like you with a little bit, and I stress little bit, of extra training. Understanding this will allow you to start re-examining your role in society. Look at Hurricanes Katrina and Andrew, the ice storm in Atlanta, and now the wildfires in California. Sure, you can wait on your roof, wave your shirt, and pray someone comes to your salvation. You can lock your doors and say to yourself, “The firefighters will come, I just know it." Or you can be proactive take action to protect what's most important to you.

Don't wait to be a victim and learn a hard lesson. Be proactive NOW and get ahead of the situation, analze, anticipate, plan, and prepare. You will be better off for it and so will what you hold dearest, unless it’s that shiny new car in garage...

Mike Glover is the CEO Owner of FieldCraft LLC, a California based company that specializes in emergency preparedness and equipment. Mike is also a former Special Operations Operator and survival expert with over 19 years in operational experience.   Stay tuned for @sofsurvivor’s next post: The Blowout Bag, Part I