by Spencer Coursen, Coursen Security Group
Natural disasters cause major disruptions to our lives. Preparing yourself both mentally and physically for the harsh reality that may present itself will help you to ride out the storm in the best possible position to handle the aftermath of the disaster.
The following are 10 essential tips to follow in your own preparedness process.
1. Have a positive attitude. Your survival will often be the result of your own personal outlook. Accepting the situation for it's unfortunate reality rather than playing the victim and waiting to be rescued is most often the difference between those who survive a natural disaster and those who do not.
2. Have a plan in place. Every family should have their own Emergency Readiness Plan. Your family will likely not be together when the disaster strikes so it's important for everyone in your family to know ahead of time how you will contact one another, where to go and what to do in different situations. It's important these plans be communicated and discussed at regular intervals as circumstances and scenarios may change throughout the year.
3. Know where to go and know how to get there. Safe Havens should be identified as early and as often as possible. This means knowing where to go if you can't get home, and knowing where you can safely go if you have to evacuate your home.
4. Go-bags should be packed and ready at all times. A “go-bag” is the bag your grab when it’s time to “Go,” as in right now when the time required to plan, prep and pack will mitigate your chance of survival. The premise is such that your go-bag is always packed, ready and waiting with the essentials you will need to survive for two nights and three days in the outdoor terrain of your approximate location and in current local climate. No creature comforts; just the necessities to survive, contained in a packaged weight, affording you the ability to remain mobile. Keep in mind; your packing list may change throughout the year dependent upon the time of year, the season, your location, your medical requirements and your physical ability. You should be well versed in terms of your bag’s content, knowledgeable of item location, and organized for ease of use.
Everyone who is physically able to carry a pack should have one. Your own individual packing list may vary based on personal preference and necessity, but the contents of the one below serves as an excellent tutorial on what constitutes essentials. If you only do one thing to prepare beyond your in-home food and water storage, this is it. This is what you need. Everyone should have one. Build or buy one today. Many pre-customized options are available on-line.
5. Decide right now what's most important. In the event you should ever need to evacuate from your home, your go-bag should already be packed, ready and waiting for you at a moments notice. If you have more than a moment to prepare and evacuate, have a contingency list of what's most important to save from your home based on you own personal priority. Whatever you decide is most important to save, list them in order of priority in case time runs out. Important documents, photographs, family heirlooms, pets and valuables you can use for barter should be considered but remember that nothing is more important than the lives of your family.
6. Have emergency rations on-hand. Food and water will become more difficult to acquire depending on the severity and duration. Safeguard yourself from future stress and stock-up on reserves of bottled water and shelf-stable food that can keep your family properly nourished for handling the inherent stress of your situation.
7. Prepare for power outages. Today, all of our communication devices require a charge and your mobile devices will be critical to helping you negotiate your way to a better day. While a few commercial venues with back-up generators may be able to facilitate the needs of the few, they most certainly will not be able to cater to the needs of the many. So skip the Starbucks iPhone-charging line and invest in this universal solar-charging unit. Goal Zero has a great selection of solar charges available for every budget.
8. Understand the importance of ice. Have some extra bags of ice in the freezer, king-cubes will last you longer than the icemaker variety. Ice will help keep your refrigerator and freezer functional for a day or two after the power goes out. Fill up a few tuba-ware containers filled with water and freeze overnight. Keep as many frozen bricks in your freezer as you can. Ice does more than chill your drinks, there are medical uses (Blister Burn, splinter removal, oral numbness to treat tooth pain, and soft tissue injury to name a few, so having some on hand will prove beneficial to your cause. Ice will also help keep essential medicine like insulin properly refrigerated. If a natural disaster is imminent, try to make as much ice as possible before the power goes out.
9. Know the "safe-spots" in your home. Stairwells or spaces under large beams provide "survival voids" that rescue workers check first.
10. Maximize Insurance and fortify your home. This will of course require the most foresight and preparation, and will not aid you when the warning whistles blow, but looking out for things like dead-trees which may blow over in strong winds, or readily upgrading your homes doors, windows, roofs will play a significant role in the face of a natural disaster.
It's important to keep in mind that we can not often prevent disasters, but we can be prepared...and when a natural disaster does strike, you'll be glad you were ready.
Preparing today for a safer tomorrow will always be the best course of action.