Friday, March 5, 2010

Be Prepared

Are You Prepared For A Disaster? When questioned about disaster preparedness, poll results are not surprising - 70% of respondents typically are not prepared if their area was hit with a natural disaster. Many claim that their area does not get natural disasters because they don‘t have earthquakes or hurricanes; but don’t be fooled, disasters come in many different forms. In spite of some respondents false sense of security, forces of nature can reek havoc on any area of the country. No one wants to think it can happen to them! In this modern world some more disasters can be added to Earth Wind Fire and Water, there are also blizzards or extreme heat, plus those man-made catastrophes we really don't want to think about ... chemical spills, nuclear accidents, or, heaven forbid, another terrorist attack.

The motto of the Boy Scouts is Be Prepared.
Someone once asked Lord Baden-Powell, the founder
of Scouting, "Be prepared for what?"
Baden-Powell replied, "Why, for any old thing!"

So what does "being prepared" mean for the average person in regards to natural disasters? No, you probably cannot be totally prepared for anything, much less all possible disasters; however, being mentally prepared is a huge step in the right direction. Emergency preparedness is more about personal (family) survival than property protection. Forget about the sheets of plywood and portable generators, this is about you and your family surviving the first few days after a disaster strikes. Here are some simple things every family can do to be better prepared:

⊕ Discuss Emergency Preparedness with your family! Things are less scary for all, especially children, if they are previously discussed calmly and rationally. Where are the safe places in your home to go in different types of emergencies, plus when and how you should evacuate if necessary.

⊕ Family Escape and Evacuation Plan - The escape plan should encompass escaping fire and floods, how to get out of the house, upper story escapes, even getting out of a flooded vehicle. The evacuation plan is about where you should go if you have to leave the house, what routes to take, and how separated family members should locate each other.

⊕ Get-Out-Quick Kit
Consider one of the small fire and water resistant lunchbox/briefcase type portable safes that you can quickly grab and toss in the car. This is the personal/family information that you would most need to start over with, especially if you were to lose your home to a disaster.

* USB-drive with scans of important documents, financial and credit information and insurance photos. It is also good in this day of cheap digital gadgets to create a digital archive of family mementos with digital photos and scans of old pictures, scrapbooks, etc.
* Passports and other IDs
* Insurance policies
* Professional licenses
* Other irreplaceable documents

⊕ Family Survival Kit
Consider a couple of those 30 gallon plastic storage bins with tight fitting lids to store these items. The following list is short and simple. This is the basics to get you and your family through the first 72 hours after a disaster hits. Battery operated flashlights and radios are ok, as long as remember to change the batteries, but the hand-crank units are much better for safety! You will find many of these items in the camping supplies at your neighborhood Kmart, Target, Walmart or other general merchandise store.

* First-Aid kitHand Crank Radio Flashlight
* 1 gallon of bottled water per person
* Half dozen Energy-Bars per person
* Space-Blankets 1 each family member
* Plastic ponchos 1 each family member
* Hand-crank radio-flashlight combo
* Hand-crank water purifier/filter
* Water sanitation tablets (iodine based are best)
* LeatherMan, Gerber, or similar type of multi-tool pocketknife
* Disposable lighter
* 100 ft light nylon cord
* Roll of duct tape (don’t laugh, add some baling wire if you really want a complete kit!)
* Spare (old) prescription eyeglasses

⊕ Always keep daily prescription medications together so they can be easily grabbed and dumped into either of the above kits if an emergency arises.

⊕ And if you happen to be a small business owner, is your business prepared? Insurance can cover the loss of physical property and merchandise, but can never replicate records. Consider means of off-site data storage for both paper and electronic data.

Hopefully you will never be forced to use this, but being prepared for the unexpected makes it much easier to deal with the unfortunate situation.

1 comment:

Gayle said...

I've been through several disasters and can applaud these tips. They're good ones to follow. I learned a few too.