First Understand, Disasters are Going To Happen!
Each year devastating disasters ravage our nation, leaving behind countless victims. Pre-disaster planning can have a dramatic impact on minimizing the tragedy and suffering, resulting in a more efficient and coordinated (non panicked) response, and will save lives. Now is the time to prepare for these conditions. Do not wait until it is too late. And, do not be fooled into thinking that only other people are affected. Remember Terrorist attacks, tsunamis, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, fires, biohazard material spills, radiological, nuclear device detonations, biological and toxic chemical accidents or attacks can happen because of a large number of factors, most beyond your control, how well you plan, prepare and response to those situations will determine how well and if you and your family will survive them.
Most of us would consider it foolish to be without insurance coverage for our homes, cars, health and lives. How much less important is a survival plan? Remember during and immediately after a major disaster, you and your family may very well be on your own for over 72 hours without any assistance from outside services. Don’t get caught unprepared, be sensible, be safe, be prepared!
DISASTERS STRIKE WITHOUT WARNING!
No matter who you are, no matter what city or town you live in, you can be touched or devastated by a violent crime, terrorist attack or a disaster. You cannot afford to ignore the facts, your life and the life of your loved ones may depend on it! You hear about them on TV, the internet and in newspapers everyday, it’s no secret earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, snow storms, tsunamis, economic recessions, civil unrest, riots, terrorist threats either by chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons, or assaults on our infrastructure such as drinking water, air, transportation systems, workplaces and even our own homes are at risk. Many of these events are happening with increasing frequency! Weapons are readily available to those wishing to do as much harm as possible to as many people as possible and even sacrificing there own lives in the process. Our own department of homeland security, military, FBI, CIA, NSA and police forces are scrambling to secure our airports, borders, and U.S. territory from terrorist threats that have already killed thousands of people to date! Our nation still mourns the tragic loss of those innocent victims who fell on 9-11. U.S. government officials have warned us that we will see more terrorist attacks, it’s not if, it’s when! Many tell us that we do not need gas mask and evacuation equipment yet most if not all of them have this equipment readily available! While our security forces are aware of these problems they don’t seem to have the resources available to battle those determined to inflict devastating damage upon us!
PREPARE BEFORE DISASTER STRIKES!
In a major disaster you may very well be on you own for at lease a few days, probably longer. We all must take responsibility for our own family’s safety. Your top priority, perhaps the single most important decision to make for there protection before disaster strikes is to plan ahead and be prepared. You must have essential supplies on hand prior to an emergency, the time to acquire them is now, ready to use before you need them, by doing so You can greatly increase your chance of survival. Most of the real tragedy and suffering strike those caught unprepared. It’s a fact that those caught unprepared always panic. It is wise and prudent to have the essential supplies on hand and not need them, rather than not have them and need them! By being prepared you will be in a better position to help others and stay out of harms way!
THERE ARE REAL BENEFITS TO BEING PREPARED
• Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters. Communities, families, and individuals should know what to do in the event of a fire and where to seek shelter during a tornado. They should be ready to evacuate their homes and take refuge in public shelters and know how to care for their basic medical needs.
• People also can reduce the impact of disasters (flood proofing, elevating a home or moving a home out of harm’s way, and securing items that could shake loose in an earthquake) and sometimes avoid the danger completely. The need to prepare is real.
• Disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year. Each disaster has lasting effects, both to people and property.
• If a disaster occurs in your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, but you need to be ready as well. Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere.
• You should know how to respond to severe weather or any disaster that could occur in your area – hurricanes, earthquakes, extreme cold, flooding, or terrorism.
•You should also be ready to be self-sufficient for at least three days. This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water, and sanitation.
A natural disaster can happen at any time. Some disasters give warning like a storm preceding a flood. Others, like earthquakes give no warning. Once a disaster happens, the time to prepare is gone and all you can do is cope. Take the next few minutes to examine what you can do to prepare. Anything you do today to will be like making a deposit in your survivability savings account for withdrawal in tough times.
Preparedness.com has composed a list of recommended supplies for your car, home, and work location. At a minimum, you should prepare to be isolated and on your own for at least a minimum of 3 days and nights. There will likely be the loss of utilities after a disaster. Power outages are a given, but water may be scarce as well. The phone system may be inoperable. Your only source of news will be the car radio, assuming your local radio station has generator equipment. There might not be medical help for minor cuts or broken bones for several days.
With the loss of power come side affects you may not think of. There will be no gasoline available. (Without power, there is no way to pump the gas.) You might be far from home. Your car’s heater might be your only source of heat. The money in your pocket will have to last until power is returned. Some supplies may be available, but buying some items like a manual can opener will be impossible. Cash cards will be useless if power or phone lines are lost. Many stores will have a hard time opening since items don’t have prices on them anymore, thanks to scanning cash registers!
You could be just about anywhere when a disaster strikes; in the bathroom, driving to the store, sitting at your desk at work, or in the back yard. But remember, you will most likely be at, or near one of the following:
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO TO PREPARE:
• Read your company’s evacuation plan! Note the designated meeting locations for after an evacuation.
• Each time you enter a room, take note of the exit routes and locations of fire extinguisher and medical kits.
• Note locations of stairways as you walk from location to location.
• Keep your own personal supplies in your desk in a single pack of some kind that you can access quickly. Along with your supplies, store a pair of walking shoes.
• Be sure you have composed a card to carry in your wallet or purse with important phone numbers including the number of your out of state phone contact.
• Keep the area under your desk free of waste-paper baskets and the like.
This 6 square foot area might be home during a few traumatic moments.
• If you are not at your desk when something happens, don’t count on being able to make it back. Store additional supplies in your car (see below).
KNOW YOUR HOUSE:
• Find out where the utility shutoffs are for water, power, and gas.
• Place a flashlight or an emergency light next to your breaker panel.
• Place a wrench in your water meter box located near the street.
• Place or attach a tool on your gas meter for turning off the gas.
• Evaluate each room in your house. Ask yourself: what will fall on my head, or will keep me from getting out if it fell? Secure anything you find. Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.
• Fasten shelves securely to walls and place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
• Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
• Store household chemicals on a bottom shelf of a closed cabinet.
• Never store bleach and ammonia in the same cabinet. These chemicals, when mixed, will create a toxic gas as deadly as any ever created.
• Identify the best and worst places to be in your house. Remember that you might not have any choice as to where you will be located when a disaster strikes. The best places inside the house are under major beams that are secured to the rest of the structure, or in strong doorways, or inner structural walls. The worst places are in front of windows, or near fireplaces and chimneys.
• Make an emergency plan including escape routes and meeting places. Choose both a nearby meeting place and an out of state relative to be your check in contact for the family.
• Test your emergency plan with all members of the family present.
• Plug emergency lighting into selected outlets. (These flashlights are constantly charged, and turn on automatically when power fails, or when the units are unplugged.)
• Keep all tree and shrub limbs trimmed so they don’t come in contact with wires.
• Keep trees adjacent to buildings free of dead or dying wood.
• Store combustible or flammable materials in approved safety containers and keep them away from the house.
• Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and near sleeping areas.
KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS/NEIGHBORHOOD:
• Contact your school district to obtain policy regarding how children will be released from school.
• Know the location of the nearest police and fire stations, as well as the route to the nearest hospital emergency room.
• Meet with neighbors and find out who has medical experience.
• If you are taking this preparedness thing seriously, share this information with the households next to you. • The more people you can convince to prepare, the greater your group resources. Remember that you will be called upon by all around you for help, especially by those who didn’t take warnings seriously.
• Give spare keys to your trusted neighbors. Show them where the utility shutoffs are and provide them with a list of contact phone numbers.
• Ask how to turn off your neighbors utilities
KNOW YOUR FAMILY:
• Hold a home evacuation drill to test your emergency plan with all members of the family present.
• Teach your children how to get help from neighbors and 911.
• Keep photos of family members in wallet in case they turn up missing.
• Teach household members how to turn off utilities. In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.
• Ask an out of state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
IN YOUR CAR:
• Always keep your gas tank full! Fill it when it reaches 1/2 a tank. You will thank yourself the first time you are stuck in a traffic jam in the dead of winter. (A few years ago in my home town of Seattle, a winter storm took us by surprise and crippled the city with abandoned vehicles. Most of them ran out of gas while waiting for accidents to be cleared from the roads.)
• Think of your car’s trunk as a big steel supply cabinet. Keep your supplies in the trunk along with other items like tools, jumper cables and spare tire.
• Even if you are at home when a disaster strikes, and your home is well stocked, you may still need the supplies in your car. Your house may not be safe to enter, or may catch fire after a disaster like an earthquake (like many houses in Kobe, Japan or the Marina District of San Francisco).
• Your car will be one of your most important resources after a disaster strikes. Keep it mechanically sound, and pay close attention to the exhaust system. A leaking exhaust system could kill.
• Replace your battery every 2-3 years. In an emergency, your car battery will need to run the radio and heater for extended periods.
CHECK YOUR CAR
• Wipers and windshield washer fluid
• Ignition system
• Lights and flashing hazard
• Exhaust system
• Tire tread