Disasters and emergencies, like death, come like a thief in the night. No matter how sophisticated warning devices are or how you much psyched yourself for the worst, emergencies will still stop you cold. Ask yourself now: do you really think you can get out of your home alive when a huge fire eats it up? Do you know where to evacuate your family when floods ravage your town? Do you have emergency kits that will keep your family alive for days? You think love will keep you alive? No, that’s a great song but not really true in times of emergencies. A survival kit and a preparedness guide, not love, will keep you alive.
The Ad Council along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency found that 6 out of 10 American families do not have an emergency plan. The study further revealed that only 19% think they are “very prepared” for disasters. That is alarming considering various threats to life that become even more common everyday: natural disasters brought about by extreme weather conditions, drought, food insecurity and hunger, war and terror, and even home accidents. It should be a no-brainer then that the time to prepare is now.
We all want to be spared
Disasters know no social standing. Whoever you are, you are not safe. The best we can do is to prepare to at least get a chance at being spared. A study by the International Monetary Fund estimated that more than 450 million people were affected by natural disasters from 2010 to 2012. If you are not part of the statistics, lucky you. However, chances are becoming slimmer and having a preparedness guide might just make your chances better.
We want to keep our families safe
Weather seems unpredictable, today. Yes, heavy rainfall during summer is not impossible anymore. Keep your family safe by having a comprehensive guide to disaster preparedness and practicing them at home. Sit down with your family and complete your emergency checklist: from making sure everyone gets to eat and no one gets left behind.
Rescue teams will never be fast enough
For a family in danger, no rescue team is fast enough. You can’t waste a single minute. While waiting for rescue, make sure you have your survival kits ready and your family knows the emergency plan. In times of flood for example, rescuers will find it harder to go to your place so if you have life vests or even rubber boats at home, you are a step closer to safety.
Supermarkets will close down
Supermarkets and their workers are not spared by disasters. Yes, they won’t be there to serve you when you need them most. So make sure your emergency kit has food supplies enough to last for at least 72 hours.
Relief may not be enough
Food relief may not be what your family needs. If you have an infant, formula may not be readily available. If you have a diabetic member, nutritional needs will also vary so it is better if you have your own flood supplies.
Medicines are not a priority
Food, clothing, and shelter are the priorities in a relief operation. Medicine supplies come next. But maybe to a sick member of your family, it matters most. Check if you have enough medicine supplies because you could be saved from flooding but not from illnesses.
Hospitals get hit by disasters, too
Survival kits should not only be limited to food and clothing. Make sure they also contain a first aid kit. Minor injuries like cuts and fracture may be incurred during rescue and evacuation. Clinics and hospitals, if ever operational, may be hard to get to so it is still best to know first aid.
Power lines are down
Chances are power lines will be cut down so don’t even think about charging your cell phone. Make sure you have a fully-charged communication device on your survival kit so you can get assistance quicker and at the same time let your other relatives know that your family is okay.
Government action will take time
If you are waiting for your city mayor to make an announcement on TV or the radio calling everyone to evacuate, then you are wasting precious time, and probably precious lives. Local governments need to time to coordinate and consolidate. If your family has a preparedness guide, go ahead and get moving.
Disasters happen far from home
Disaster preparedness should go beyond the home. Every member of the family should practice it in all occasions. For example, an earthquake could hit while you are in the office. If one is trained with preparedness skills, there is no need to panic.
Disasters happen in schools
What if heavy rainfall happens while your kids are in school and it gets flooded even before you can fetch them? A 2014 study by Save The Children found that not all schools in the U.S. are prepared, with Georgia being the weakest in the department. The least that parents could do is to make sure their children are aware of the emergencies that could happen and how to address them.
Children are vulnerable
Children depend on their parents in times of disasters. They are the most vulnerable. Make them more confident by assuring them that following a preparedness guide works no matter where they are.
We don’t know what disease will emerge
Aside from natural disasters, there are also emerging and re-emerging diseases. Today, the ebola virus is driving everyone crazy. It is a shame that even a medically advanced countries like the U.S. is poor in public health preparedness. A report by the Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that 35 states and even Washington D.C. are not prepared for health emergencies.
Prepare to reduce fear
Fear and anxiety cause panic — and that is exactly what we want to avoid in times of emergencies. Knowing that your family knows what to do will reduce fear and all of you will have a better chance at survival.
Reduce the impact
Reduce losses by making necessary precautions like making sure your roof is sturdy, your windows have storm shutters and your house is not built on a danger zone.
No one wants to be sorry
The worst disaster knows that you did nothing to prepare for disaster. Having to say: “my child would still be alive had I prepared” could just be the most painful tragedy. You never have to torture yourself with the blame game if you prepared.
We know that the next emergency is coming. It is a matter of what and when. Waste no time and prepare for all sorts of disasters, natural or man-made. Knowledge and preparedness are keys to survival and our family’s safety depends on it.
Aby League is a qualitative researcher and a passionate writer. She is an innovator and technology enthusiast. She has been writing about health, psychology, home improvement and technology. You can see more of her articles on Elite Daily. To know her more, follow her on Twitter.