News of cold freshwater flowing from melting glaciers in southern Greenland into the North Atlantic, thus disrupting ages-old ocean currents; reports of record droughts in California and record floods in Texas, Kansas, West Virginia, South Carolina, and Louisiana; announcements of the birth of yet another “Super El Niño” in the Pacific, bringing more extreme weather across the globe. It’s all more than enough to make one feel a little helpless. Fortunately, taking action in your own home and community can alleviate that feeling, and it doubles as important caretaking for you and your family.
September is National Preparedness Month, and there’s no better time to put together your home’s supply kit and your family plans (or inventory and review both, if you already have them). Here on my ULTIMATE ERROR blog, I’ve mentioned a great place in which to embark on these projects, and here is the link again. Getting oneself and one’s family ready for possible disasters can help dissipate feelings of helplessness or doom and gloom for some people.
Each week in September has its own theme, so there’s always a new preparedness challenge to tackle. September 30th is National PreparAthon Day. Here’s an overview of some of the items found on disaster preparedness checklists. For more details, please see the first link above.
- Using a checklist suitable for your area, prepare your basic kit with three to seven days of supplies
- Contact your community or county emergency management office to learn about potential hazards in your area and opportunities to volunteer (if you desire to do so)
- Meet with your family to create communication, evacuation, and rendezvous plans using materials available at Ready.gov
- Expand your supplies, if necessary, to include enough food and drinking water (one gallon per person per day) to last for 14 days or more, depending on your proximity and accessibility to rescue and relief crews
- Working with others in your community can be rewarding in and of itself, and it also makes your area stronger and more resilient
Regarding the last bullet point, a growing number of communities are exploring advanced disaster resilience-building as an alternative to the massive costs of standard, post-disaster clean-up and rebuilding. Some particularly vulnerable states like Louisiana and Hawaii are leading the way in investments to shore up before disasters strike. Sizable groups are now lobbying the federal government to contribute funds towards community resilience.
As you can see, from your garage to Washington, D.C., there’s plenty of good work to be done in the area of disaster preparedness. Only a few of us will contribute at every level, but what’s important is that, according to our means, we do our parts toward the safety and well-being of our families and communities through preparedness.
My upcoming novel, ULTIMATE ERROR, is about the biggest of catastrophes. We live, work, and play on its precipice every day. Can we avoid stumbling in? And if we can’t, will we be prepared for what awaits us?