In the last few weeks, my morning ritual of coffee and feed reader has become something I face with trepidation. Earthquake, revolution, flooding, police crackdown, nuclear meltdown, war: It’s heartbreaking and scary and frustrating.
People across the globe have come together to donate time, money and aid where it is possible and this is a beautiful thing to see. After all, no matter what the lines on a map say, or the title of the book you read for spiritual guidance, we are all one people who just want to live the best we know how. In the coming days you will see many opportunities to help those already affected, and I hope you will do what you can. However, that isn’t the purpose of this post.
Before we go any further, stop for a moment and just think about this question: What if it happened in your backyard? What if it was your house, your family, your city? What would you do? If you had just 30 minutes to evacuate, could you? If disaster struck while you were away from your family, would you know how to get back to them? What if infrastructure were wiped out?
Do you have a plan?
Thinking about the “what if’s” can be pretty scary, but it isn’t nearly as scary as being caught off guard with no access to drinking water and no way to communicate with your loved ones. A small amount of preparation ahead of time can make all the difference in the world when it comes to surviving and moving forward after disaster strikes.
Every family should have at least three things:
1. knowledge of what disasters are likely in your area (do a google search for your state’s emergency management office)
2. an emergency exit route, an evacuation route and a meeting place.
3. an emergency kit including first aid supplies, extra medications and food and water for 3 days.
I like the site 72hours.org as a starting point for developing a plan and building a kit. You can plug in criteria for different emergencies, different family needs, and they even have a downloadable PDF to help you organize a community wide plan for recovery.
If you have animals, preparedness has to include a plan for their safety as well. The ASPCA has some great tips for including your furry family’s needs in your plan.
You can also take classes at your local Red Cross in things like CPR and first aid, as well as how to help in the recovery process.
We all know disaster is not just possible, but probable at some point in our lives. Being prepared can help relieve a lot of the stress from reading about these awful situations around the world. Knowledge is power, and with that we can all help make the best of these worst-case situations.