Disasters are a part of life. Whether natural or manmade, we can’t stop them from happening. There are specific disasters affecting various parts of the globe. And since you can’t prevent disasters, it makes perfect sense to prepare for it ahead of time. These measures will ensure you and your family stay safe and alive while others struggle to survive. Simple measures like preparing a disaster preparedness kit and an emergency bag or ration can make a big difference when supplies are scarce and people and chaos have enveloped the land.
The first thing you need to know are the types of disasters affecting your region and how you should prepare for it. Most of the time, your disaster preparedness kit contains the same thing. It should have emergency medical supplies, survival tools, and food and water for a specific period of time. There are even those who take extreme measures and call themselves as doomsday preppers. They take disaster preparedness to extreme levels and ensure they stay self-sufficient in the face of a post-apocalyptic world.
But let us not go into that. What you need to know are the basics and often times just having a basic disaster preparedness kit is enough to keep you and your family taken cared of until relief measures are delivered by the government or humanitarian groups.
Disasters of all kinds disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year. FEMA and the National Weather Service say that each disaster has lasting effects, both to people and property. If a disaster occurs in your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, but you need to be ready as well. Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere. Being prepared for a disaster can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters.
According to FEMA, There are five key elements to a disaster plan:
Learn about possible dangers in your area and become familiar with your community’s disaster response plan. Common disasters in Iowa include flooding, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Talk to your family about what to do in the event of an emergency. Pick two locations where you will meet: one close to your home and another removed from your neighborhood to be used if you are unable to return to your residence.
Develop a crisis communications plan to insure that your family will be able to stay in contact if you are separated during a disaster.
Create emergency preparedness kits for your home, office and car.
Practice your plan.
Wherever you live, it is but a must to secure you and your family’s safety in the event of a major disaster. Ignorance is never an excuse. Will you risk putting everyone in your household in danger because you were just too lazy to make the necessary life-saving preparations when you still had the time?
“The Red Cross is encouraging residents take steps to prepare should they be affected by severe weather,” said Louise Welch Williams, regional CEO for the Red Cross in South Carolina. “With the spring storm season heating up, it’s a good time to check your emergency kit, make an emergency plan, and stay informed about changing weather conditions.”
DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information, severe weather alerts and shelter locations available on their mobile device. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
Everyone in the region should listen to local news for updates and watch for signs of a storm such as darkening skies, increasing wind or lightning flashes, and they should postpone outdoor activities. If someone can hear thunder, they are close enough to be in danger from lightning – if thunder roars, go indoors.
Households should build disaster kits with enough supplies for at least three days, including water (one gallon, per person, per day), nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items and copies of important personal documents. They should also have an emergency plan in which each person knows how to reach other members of the household. The plan should also include an out-of-area emergency contact person, and where everyone should meet if they can’t go home.
If you are still clueless on what to prepare when you start making your own emergency kit, take these tips seriously. Your disaster “go-bag” should include food and water rations. Those two are the most important items since supermarkets will likely be closed and your money won’t have any value in a town ravaged by disaster. Store some bottled water, canned goods, energy and chocolate bars, and other ready-to-eat food that you can all safely consume without the need for cooking.
After addressing your eating needs, other aspects that need your attention are safety and security measures. Your kit should likewise include first aid like pills and medicines for wound dressing and some basic toiletries. A whistle is also helpful especially when there is widespread destruction and it can help others locate you while masks can protect you from too much dirt and dust. Maps are also helpful in navigation and a utility knife can work wonders in time of emergencies. A duct tape is also multi-functional and matches or lighters can help make fire. A radio and batteries can let you stay connected to the outside world. Torch lights are also a must at night especially for a widespread blackout. And lastly, secure your documents in ziplock bags and some cash because you’ll never know when you’ll need them again.
Whether for short-term or long-term survival, you need to cover all the basics if you want to survive any disasters in one piece. So, make your own emergency kit now and sleep soundly each night knowing you are ready whenever disaster strikes.