In recent days, on my ULTIMATE ERROR blog here, I focused on current-event disasters and the global warming trends that caused them. Today, though, I’d like to refocus on preparedness. Whatever the disaster, wherever it may occur, following recognized, best-practice protocols can save the lives and livelihoods of our families and our neighbors.
The place to begin is with your basic disaster supplies kit. Designed to assist survival and well-being in your home for at least three days, it includes drinking water, food, batteries, flashlights, radios, etc. (Please see complete list at the link above.)
Next, you’ll want to develop your family’s communication, evacuation, and rendezvous plans, suitable for each disaster type and for each plausible eventuality. The United States Department of Homeland Security offers free downloads of several checklists to assist you in this process.
Before, during, and/or after a disaster event, public safety officials will need to get important information to you. In order to receive it, you will need a mobile phone (opted-in for emergency alerts, if required), a portable radio with batteries, and/or a battery-operated television set. Through these, you can get vital information via wireless emergency alerts, NOAA Weather Radio, and the Emergency Alert System, respectively.
Having taken these three basic steps, you are well on your way to being disaster-ready. Further resources to help you complete the process are available by following this link.
In any community, you’re likely to find friends and neighbors who are already properly prepared and those who procrastinate and lag behind. When you’re ready, you might ask those who fall into the second category if they’d like some help. Neighborhood and community spirit contribute to the resilience of a city or town.
More and more, resilience is being measured by state and federal agencies. Having your area certified resilient can even save you significant money on your insurance premiums. Officials are increasingly calling for more funding of resilience-building in communities nationwide. They point to the fact that the prevention aspect of resilience alone saves funds that otherwise would have to be spent on clean-up and rebuilding.
This is the real world of disaster preparedness. Capitalizing on the experience of survivors and other experts in order to improve our chances for survival, safety, and security. Hollywood versions of disasters may be enjoyable exaggerations, but they are not the places to gain useful knowledge. Certainly, they are not to be taken as scientific or as representative of true human behavior in catastrophes.
Movie titles like Armageddon, Deep Impact, and San Andreas are the domain of Paramount Pictures, Universal, and 21st Century Fox. The real disasters – and the expertise on how to prepare for them – belong to Ready.gov, FEMA, and the American Red Cross.
My upcoming novel, ULTIMATE ERROR, is about the existential threats we as a species tiptoe around daily. How do we avoid crossing the line and setting in motion a catastrophe for which no amount of preparation will suffice?