5 Disaster Preparedness Tips
Disasters Happen Unexpectedly
Earthquakes, power grid failures, pandemics, cyber attacks, nuclear war, terrorism, financial and economic collapse; the list of disasters that would potentially ruin society as we know it goes on and on. According to the Red Cross, more than 200 million people are affected by disasters each year. As the world becomes more divisive and volatile, individuals must plan and prepare for a situation in which every day “luxuries” such as water, electricity or cash from an ATM may not be available for a period of time.
The Department of Homeland Security, the Red Cross and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention actively advocate for individuals and organizations to set a plan for when disaster strikes. While no one can predict what type of disaster they will face, there are a few steps to take to ensure you have a comprehensive preparedness plan in place. Below is our list of 5 high priority tips.
Step 1: Understand your Surroundings
Evaluate where you live and the type of disasters that the area is prone to. Living on a fault line, you should actively think about possible earthquake scenarios while those living in a major metropolitan city may be more focused on potential terrorism or pandemic-type disasters. Research your area’s specific evacuation routes, shelter locations, and community evacuation procedures. Use that information to form an evacuation plan and ensure you are signed up for all local and national emergency alerts.
Step 2: Have a Family Meet Up Plan
Disaster can strike at any moment and the first things to fail are typically the cell towers. With no direct line of communication to family members at work or school the next best step is to have a designated meet up location or set of steps to ensure all are safe and away from danger. This plan can be created in combination with the local evacuation procedures but should be tailored to your specific situation.
Step 3: Have Food and Medical Supplies
When a disaster strikes there may be food shortages due to restricted supply lines to supermarkets and stores. There may be no electricity or water available and help may be very far away. A good food cache is key to sustaining a prolonged disaster event; canned goods and non-perishable items are important. Medical supplies are also essential. In order to help yourself and others you will need basic medical supplies such as bandages, disinfectant, medical tape, and aspirin and any prescription medicine on hand.
Step 4: Have Bartering Power
If there is a prolonged disaster, many commodities such as oil, gas, generators, guns, ammunition, gold and silver, may be used for bartering or purchasing necessities. If cash is temporarily inaccessible, these items, especially precious metals will become vehicles for doing business. Silver or gold coins can be relied upon during disaster situations due to the coins value and its ability to be easily transported. Since silver trades at much lower values than gold, it has more utility for lower transaction amounts.
Step 5: Learn Emergency Skills
Learning basic skills such as CPR and more advanced medical skills will become valuable when disaster strikes. With limited access to emergency personnel or hospitals, individuals may be responsible for tending to the needs of injured family and friends. Many local communities offer classes on these types of skills at recreation centers.
There is no telling when or how a disaster will strike but having a solid plan in place and supplies for all situations will put you in a better position than those who do not. For more information on how to best plan, visit ready.org and redcross.org or your local emergency preparedness site.