Not long ago, preparing for a really bad day was something that most people did not take seriously. In recent years, there is a marked uptick in natural disasters, threats of war and even civil unrest.
With all manner of chaos on the rise, people are realizing that having extra food, water and supplies on hand is not such a bad idea. Having a backup plan if you must leave your home is wise, too.
Preparedness: A Professional’s Prospective
Having a background in professional emergency management comes in handy. As part of my job, I taught preparedness classes to citizens and government partners. I was also deployed to large-scale disasters across the nation and worked locally on all-hazard emergencies, including incidents that quickly overwhelmed local police and fire departments.
Why do I tell you this? Simple. I’ve been involved in disasters from the planning table to the disaster scene itself, wild land fires to Cat-5 Hurricanes. Those years taught me first hand that there is a large shortage of money for disaster recovery. Even so, it isn’t stopping nature’s fury from hitting this planet full force.
If your disaster plan is just waiting for the government to help you, I strong encourage you to change your plans now. Here are five reasons why.
1) Chaos is on the rise. Like it or not, the world has changed. Storms are getting more destructive, divisions among people are growing and the threat of catastrophic war is thrown around as if no one and nothing on this planet matters. While all this is happening, laws and policies are tightening down. How many more large disasters do you think will occur before the system can no longer help people with recovery?
2) You are responsible for you. Somewhere along the line, too many people began to believe that they can’t take care of their own families. A dependency mindset will not serve you well in a disaster situation. There is some help for some people through government processes. That is true. However, when it’s all said and done, your ability to recover from a catastrophic event is really determined by your own resiliency and the planning you did before the tragedy occurred.
3) Help is everywhere, and nowhere. If one disaster strikes and then another closely follows, emergency workers (and volunteer services) are quickly spread thin. This is also the case when a single disaster is very widespread and affects many citizens at once. To those in the affected areas, it will seem as though nothing is being done.
That is not true. Many good people are doing a lot of good work. There are only so many people trained to do those types of jobs. Recruiting and training volunteers takes time and a great deal of resources. There is help somewhere, but it might not be anywhere near you for quite some time.
4) Your home and everything in it. If you have no backup plan, you could lose everything overnight…literally. Don’t think it’s possible? Look carefully into the flood insurance program. Imagine that insurance only covers losses that were the result of a natural disaster. Because there has been such record rainfall in your area, say, due to an unexpected storm that parked itself over your city, the officials decide to release dam water in the middle of the night which floods your entire neighborhood. You are forced to evacuate with nothing but the clothes on your back.
Your house will be condemned, yet you still owe the mortgage (remember, the flood insurance program covers damage due to natural causes). What then? (As an aside, this is one of the best reasons not to be in debt or get stuck with a too-high mortgage payment). Yes, indeed. What then? You must plan and understand how the system works. It will not change itself mid-disaster. It is what it is, and there is not much that can be done once the storm moves in.
5) Mindset. It is extremely difficult to go from being totally self-sufficient to relying on others for basic needs like food, water and clothing. Not only do you feel a loss of freedom, but you will struggle with everything from depression to grief. If you are one of the people that does get some help from the system, be prepared for long wait times. What will you do in the meantime? Where will you and your family go? What about your pets? Your job? Your kids’ school? Your lifestyle?
The list above could be a hundred things long, but it should get you thinking. From the planning rooms to boots-on-the-ground deployments, I can only say that planning for these incidents should be a must.
What Can You Do?
Learn what you can about preparedness. Skip your evening television shows and search YouTube or the internet for preparedness content (many “preppers” have great survival tips and preparedness information. Don’t get sucked into the fatalistic mindset some of the preppers have. Just focus on the good preparedness ideas that can be found there and be smart about your own preparedness at home. Put some things in place so that you are prepared should something go wrong where you live.
Have an out-of-state contact where each family members calls that one out of state person after a disaster to check in and say “Hey, I am okay. Please tell mom/dad/sister/brother that I am located XYZ…”; pack a go-bag (bug-out bag); have an At-home Survival Kit with plenty of food, water and emergency supplies for several weeks or more; keep your gas tanks full; have an emergency savings; pay your bills off and stay out of debt.
Getting and staying prepared is not just about learning to start a fire in the woods with two sticks (though that is an excellent skill to have). Outdoor survival skills are important and they may at some point be necessary. Closer to home, however, put things in order and plan for what continues to occur around the states. These events do not care what your status is at work, how big your home is or the model/make of your vehicle. They strike, and lives are changed with notice or permission.
Be smart. Get prepared. Stay prepared.
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Hello Jana, I did enjoy reading your Blog in which I not only learned some things about myself but how our attitude and mindset come through in our writing. Constructive critisism can be hard but I am grateful to have read this. Helpful on many areas. Thank you.