Baby Step #3: Get smart about potential disasters

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Guest post by Janet Liebsch, co-author of It’s a Disaster

Planning is a fact of every day life. We plan and make lists for our chores, the kids’ activities, shopping trips and vacations. But when it comes to planning for a disaster, many of us don’t do it.

According to Lynne Eicher with the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross, “Research shows that fewer than 15% of the population in this country is prepared for any disaster.”

image by srqpix

Unfortunately disaster preparedness is often thought of moments before or immediately following some sort of crisis or emergency. For example, how many times have you seen images of people stocking up on water, can goods and batteries just before the hurricane comes ashore? It’d be easier (and cheaper) to purchase things in advance and have them in a kit with other supplies. And yes, planning for something that may never happen is hard, but what if something does happen? Are you and your loved ones prepared?

Some important things you can do to prepare include:

  • Get or assemble Disaster Supplies Kits (a.k.a. grab & go kits or bug out bags) for your home, office and car … and don’t forget special needs family members, the elderly, and your pets or livestock.
  • Make a Family Emergency Plan (e.g. list of emergency phone numbers, meeting places, etc).
  • Learn about different types of disasters and emergencies that may affect your area and, if you travel to other parts of the country for business or pleasure, learn what to do there too.
  • Include children and seniors in discussions so they get a basic understanding of what could potentially happen during different types of scenarios. There are lots of kid-friendly tools and data available to help little ones understand what they need to think about and do.
  • Learn how to protect your home and personal items to lessen the impact of disasters. Some examples of mitigation include securing loose stuff around your home if in earthquake country, or landscaping to help combat floodwaters or wildfires, or strengthening doors, windows and garage doors to withstand high winds.
  • Take a first aid class (or at least read about basic first aid and learn what you would need to expect and do). Or ask local officials if they offer a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) course in your area.

    image by Robert Thomson
  • Ask your employer what the emergency plans are for your office or building and, if you have children, talk to school officials and learn what their plans are for different types of emergency scenarios. Also ask about plans at nursing homes, day cares or any other places your loved ones frequent or live.
  • Find the closest emergency shelters to your home, workplace and school. These are usually posted on the city or county Emergency Management Agency’s web site or make a phone call to them. Also think about where you would go if you had to be evacuated for days, weeks or months.
  • Keep in mind some shelters may not allow pets so find out what motels or hotels allow critters or ask your vet or animal shelter if they would be able to board animals during a time of crisis.
  • Get involved in your community and share ideas with neighbors, schools, youth groups, faith-based organizations, civic clubs and First Responders.

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2 thoughts on “Baby Step #3: Get smart about potential disasters”

  1. When it comes to planning for pets, I think that a lot of people forget that TRANSPORTATION for the lil critters is important. They may need quite a bit.

    For instance… depending on the length of the move, a cat will need:
    A carrier long enough for him to stretch, tall enough in which to stand, and ventilated
    A level surface in your vehicle….. seats won't sut it unless something is placed upon one to level the carrier
    If it is a long trip, he will need water and food, and either potty breaks on a harness and leash, or his own cat box in the vehicle. (Preferably in the rear section of the vehicle that is cordoned off with wire grating.)

    Where two or more cats are moved, the food and water can be time-shared, along with everything else except the carriers themselves. They will each need their own, regardless of how friendly they are (except in the case of kittens.. toss them in and let them entertain each other….)

    …… and this is just with cats. Dogs, bunnies, birds…. all animals have their requirements, which need to be considered and potentially altered during the stressful time of an emergency move. I won't comment on livestock, as I don't have any and them big'ns have requirements allllll their own….

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