Years ago, in Preston, ID as a young volunteer fireman and an EMT, we continually trained to respond to an emergency. As first responders when arriving upon an accident, our first task was to assess the situation to determine what needed to be done to stabilize the scene and prevent any further injury or damage to first people and then property. Our actions in the first few moments of a crisis are critical. Today, we all find ourselves at the scene of a world-wide event, COVID 19. How we respond to this event, in the beginning, will, in many ways, determine our outcome, both short term, and long term.
The first and most important assessment should be of our own emotional response. Are we pent up in fear of being immobilized, or thrashing around in frustration at what appears to be a loss of control over our lives? Or are we evaluating our surroundings and making decisions that will spare further damage to people and property, such as our family and friends in our circle of influence, and to our assets, such as our income, savings, and retirement.
First, let’s determine how we and those around us are fairing emotionally and physically. Fear and anxiety have a purpose and that is to get us moving. As a first responder at the scene of an accident or fire our first task was seeing everyone was moved to a place of safety, then addressing the needs of each individual. Being aware of those around you as individuals and not as a group is critical. Viewing those around you as a group will cause you to miss signs that an individual may be in distress, physically or emotionally. One of the best strategies for moving people out of fear and anxiety is to get them involved in becoming part of the solution, whether it be moving others to places of safety or helping another in need.
Once the personal safety of ourselves and those around us are insured, we can focus on property. The current pandemic is having a devastating impact on our economy. This impact is as devastating as any fire. The question is: do you watch and do nothing, or do you start saving what you can? As with people, you have to do an assessment of the situation. The following is my personal assessment and mine alone, however, I do encourage everyone to be proactive in preserving their assets and not just watching and hoping for the best.
Up and until the last couple of weeks the stock markets have had their longest period of growth ever without any significant downturn lasting over a decade. This was in part due to a reduction in taxes, a decrease in regulations, the Federal Reserve pumping money into the system, and other stimulus activities that have only been bandage fixes. On the other hand, overseas shipping has steadily declined over the last couple of years, signifying a contraction of the global economy. In addition, for the last year bonds with their inverted yield curve, where the shorter-term bonds are with higher returns, the longer-term bonds have been signaling a potential recession. There are many other things that are signaling a steep correction and contraction in our economy. This includes changes we see in the demographics where the older people dropping out of the workforce out-number the young people coming into the workforce and the list goes on. All in all, the indicators signal that what we are in for when it is said and done will be much worse than 2007-2008.
As first responders, we see people first and property second. The question remains: what is your plan to change the outcome when today’s toilet paper shortages become tomorrow’s food shortages? History is only repeating itself. OSR has a pathway to self-reliance with other like-minded people. But it is only a pathway, you have to make the journey. To make the journey decisions and actions are required. You have to decide if you really think life will return to normalcy and do nothing, or if the signs of the times are upon us. From here on out it will only become increasingly difficult to prepare every needful thing. There were many that mocked Noah right up until the door closed.
Philip J. Gleason