INSTANT SURVIVAL TIP: Awareness First, Preparedness Second

Arkansas is in the news this week.  It seems the area around the New Madrid Fault line has been unusually active with earthquakes.  In 1811-1812, three very large earthquakes shook the area.

The earthquakes caused the ground to rise and fall – bending the trees until their branches intertwined and opening deep cracks in the ground. Deep seated landslides occurred along the steeper bluffs and hillslides; large areas of land were uplifted permanently; and still larger areas sank and were covered with water that erupted through fissures or craterlets. Huge waves on the Mississippi River overwhelmed many boats and washed others high onto the shore. High banks caved and collapsed into the river; sand bars and points of islands gave way; whole islands disappeared.

image by martinluff

I don’t know about you, but that would sure get my attention!  However, people in the area were completely unprepared for the quakes, and no wonder.  They lived decades before the advent of 24-hour news, text messaging, and phone apps!  Today, those living in the area of this fault line are without excuse, but how many of them are actively putting together plans should a much larger quake hit?  My guess is, not very many!

It’s surprising how often predictable natural disasters and other crises take us by surprise, but as SurvivalMoms, we don’t have the luxury of remaining oblivious, do we?  You may not be a fan of the six o’clock news in your town and perhaps you barely have time to visit important websites like this one (ahem!), but it’s vital that each of us pay attention to current events, especially as they relate to our families well-being.

Another recent story you may have heard about is taking place thousands of miles away in Hungary.  There, another predictable crisis has occurred.  This time a reservoir holding back toxic sludge burst, killing and injuring multitudes of people who, no doubt, believed they lived in relative safety.  Flooding is one thing but dealing with a flood of toxic waste is quite another.  At present, it’s unknown what the long-term effects will be, both to the environment and people in the area.  Once again, awareness is vital.  Do you live in a flood plain, near a fault line, or in the vicinity of a factory or plant that produces dangerous chemicals?  It pays to know what’s upstream, so to speak.

To find out more about potential dangers in your area, use Google Earth to browse around your part of the country.  Talk with state agencies.  Does your state have an Emergency Management Agency?  What types of emergencies have they planned for?  Do a little research at the EPA website by plugging in your zip code to learn about pollutants and risks specific to your town.  Local law enforcement might be an additional resource, but remember to also rely on your own common sense and observation, not just what you’re told by authorities.

It’s possible that what you discover might be reason enough to make plans to relocate.  Stay safe and be aware!

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© Copyright 2010 The Survival Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Survival Mom
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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

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  1. Dagny says

    Freight trains are also a peril if any carry hazardous chemicals — mass evacuation is just a derailment away.

    It's a useful exercise to imagine having all day to prepare to evacuate, then just a few hours, an hour, 5 minutes and zero warning — just enough time to grab car keys and kids or pets.

    That's why my SUV is always stocked. Though i was recently looking at Survival Mom's column about prepping the car and I realize I still have not put in TP. And my fuel tank is hovering around 1/2 — off to the gas station today. There's only one gas station for several blocks — there'd be a hundred cars lined up if the need arose to evacuate.

    • Chris says

      Yup. I used to live right outside OKC. One of the 4th grade teachers used to tell stories of waking up to an earthquake. We oowed and awed,but never really believed her. I guess I missed the chance to see her proved right, since I know live elsewhere. I'm told there wasn't too much damage in the area. Hope everyone was all right and remembered what to do in an earthquake. They do teach those things in school, at least the did when I was little, which wasn't that long ago.

  2. Rose says

    Arkansas has earthquakes all the time, due to being on a great big fault line. The interesting thing about the earthquakes this time was the number of them. As someone who lives in Arkansas, I really think most of these are a result of the major natural gas mining that is going on right now. Chesapeake, a big natural gas company, has even moved into the state. A lot of people were excited about the money they could gain by leasing to the natural gas companies, but few realized the impact on the enviroment and landscape and roads. Trees have been cut everywhere. There is a natural gas pipeline in the state now, and the roads are TERRIBLE!! I already live in my "retreat" and it is not fun having to dodge giant potholes (or should I say small ponds) in the road.

  3. Mary says

    Rose, isn't it funny how that works? People hear about something and get excited and think it's good, usually because someone else told them it's good. No one ever considers consequences to anything these days. I really think most people have forgotten how to think for themselves. So sad.

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