The Post Disaster Security Timeline

It is very important to know, that there is a security timeline of events which will follow a disaster, and the resulting human behavior can be predictably used to your advantage in the hours, days and weeks into a disaster…

The post-disaster security timeline can be split into five segments of time (the event, search-and-rescue, awareness and realization, desperation, restructuring).

Each part of the timeline (the x-axis) has a corresponding security risk magnitude (the y-axis) which begins low, builds to a high, and tapers off afterwards.

Knowing when the security risks are lowest and highest, will enable you to implement your own strategy while taking advantage of this knowledge. For example, you may wish to resupply when security risks are lower and you may wish to stay out of sight or lay low when the risks are higher.

Lets look at the five segments individually…


The Event

This is ‘the event’ which begins the timeline. It is the shortest segment, but it is the time of initial disaster. It could be a natural event (earthquake, tornado, hurricane, tsunami, volcano, flood, asteroid impact, solar flare, pole reversal, alien invasion, etc.) or it could be a man-made event (terrorist attack, beginning of war, nuclear detonation, nuclear meltdown, EMP attack, etc.).

The initial event itself could last seconds, minutes, hours, or possibly longer (e.g. the follow-on effects of volcanic ash spreading or radioactive fallout drift from the initial detonation zone).

Search and Rescue

This timeline segment is the time immediately following the disaster. Most people instinctively reach out to one another during this time. They band together and help those in need, rescue those who need rescuing, and share their food and supplies with those who don’t have their own. People who ordinarily do not communicate with their neighbors or ‘strangers’ will do so during this time. In a sense, many people are given a ‘free pass’ during this phase.

The search-and-rescue period will last at least ‘days’ and could progress into a week. As each day ticks by, the overall security risk drifts higher and the curve begins to steepen.

Awareness and Realization

If the event is bad enough, people will begin to become aware of the circumstances facing them. This realization generally won’t set in for most people until after the initial flurry of activity subsides and their conditions have not improved much, or at all. This is the “Oh $hit” phase, “We might be in for trouble…”. This is the time when more widespread looting will begin.

As overall awareness sets in, people will pull back from helping others as they were doing earlier. They will become more concerned about themselves and their families and will be reluctant to give up what’s theirs. This segment of time may run for another week, maybe two. Security risks will have ramped up dramatically throughout this period of time.


After several weeks without services, many people will have run out of food, and even water. Desperate people do things they never would have thought of doing and this is the timeline segment of absolute highest security risk. Most stores will have been or will be in the final stages of looting, and supplies will be mostly gone and unavailable. People will not be freely giving up their own anymore, as they will be highly concerned about their own immediate and long term survival.

The desperate period of time could be considerable, depending of course on the severity of the disaster. If long enough, people will begin to lose their lives in a number of different ways from dehydration, malnutrition, to violence, or infection and disease.


It is natural for humans to form hierarchies, to organize, to structure themselves within groups. It’s natural because over the long run we need the skills of others to more efficiently survive.

During this timeline segment, the security risks will be generally falling due to the fact that those who have survived will be falling into more-or-less self sufficient groups or will have joined forces to protect their own communities.

What can we do with this knowledge?

It is very clear to me that you need to recognize the severity of a given disaster as soon as possible. If the disaster is estimated to be severe (regional/national), you will have one week or less to make any serious moves or adjustments. After that, you will be facing high risk while out in public or while attempting to mobilize.

Quickly gathering information about the disaster and its magnitude is paramount to successfully being ahead of the Sheeple. Here is an article which describes my favorite portable AM/FM/Shortwave radio to receive news and information, which could bring invaluable knowledge following a disaster. I also wrote an article about a good solar battery charger, which will keep that radio operating… When the power is out, YOU will potentially know what’s going on and make decisions accordingly.

Once the severity is known, and ‘if’ you need to bug-out, then you best well do it within the first few days before realization and desperation sets in (see security timeline graph above). It will be very difficult to move around without ambush during those phases.

Although you should have had your preparedness supplies well stocked before the disaster, you should use the first few days to ‘top off’ your tanks, so to speak. Get extra of whatever you can.

Plan ahead for the end of the realization segment and beginning of the desperation segment, when people will be out to get what they desperately need. This is when your life will be in the greatest danger and you must be laying low, out of sight – out of mind. A well thought out and preplanned diversification plan for your food storage and other supplies will pay off during this time. Plan to ‘fit in’ with the desperate, should you be confronted. Remember to NOT put all your eggs in one basket. If you’re bugging-in, lay low.

Hopefully the notion of a security timeline will encourage you to think about what could happen, and to plan ahead accordingly. Let’s hope for the best and plan for the worst!

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Ken Jorgustin

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