It is no secret that a couple of generations have gone by where many Americans have not had the need to develop some of the skills that were a natural part of the lives of their grandparents and great-grandparents. The computer age has many Millennials able to use any electronic device but unskilled in reading maps, planting gardens, or using tools to build things or make repairs. If you are part of this group, you do not have to be left powerless and unprepared to handle natural disasters and emergencies. Here are some things to do.
Prepare for the Worst
You have probably heard the saying of preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. Unfortunately, the mostly stable grid of public services from
food in stores to subways running night and day in the city create a reliance you may be used to without any plan in place if the grid should fail. If you commute to work, do you always have clothing, footwear and supplies ready to walk home in any weather if a disaster strikes? Would simply not having a pair of hiking boots or a warm coat cripple the speed of evacuating an area during a sudden emergency when public services may be suspended? You should always have some sort of backup plan in place for everything you do, a plan that works for you and your lifestyle.
A first aid course, CPR certification, and a basic survival skills course are a start. If you really want to be prepared to help yourself, your family, and your community, a master’s degree in occupational health and safety imparts fundamental skill sets to be prepared for just about any natural disaster or even man-made emergency situation except for the medical skills. Skills are much more reliable than gear or technology. You may not have the gear you need, and modern electronic technology is usually the first thing to fail during an emergency. Skill sets are something that go with you everywhere.
Think Fundamental During Emergencies
There is a list of needs in a hierarchical order that get compromised during emergencies. Being a human, you function in a very narrow range of ability to survive things such as climate extremes or lack of water or food. Your first concern after surviving an initial threat is to make sure you will not be killed quickly by environmental exposure. If you have to run out of a burning building in office attire in temps below freezing, you can only survive for a short period of time before hypothermia sets in. You can go hours without hydration before becoming dehydrated to the point of having symptoms, and you can usually go for a few days without food before serious issues begin. Your fundamental thinking in an emergency or disaster is to protect yourself from further harm, maintain your body temperature, and then hydrate and get calories.
Ever since September 11, 2001, we have known that the terrorist attack threat on American soil is real, and extreme flooding in Texas is another reminder of the power of natural forces. Skill sets you acquire, such as a master in occupational health and safety, can help you keep yourself and others alive. Would you know the safest way out of a football stadium hit by a sudden natural disaster, such as an earthquake or a terrorist attack? Are you confident you could make the right decisions to save yourself or others with you? You need fundamental understanding and skill sets to fall back on in an emergency.
There are many websites that will sell you gear, gadgets, water purification tablets, and dehydrated food with a long shelf life to give you some peace of mind for emergencies. Some of that is good to have on hand if other resources are compromised. However, the main thing you need is the gray matter between your ears. Fill it with acquired skill sets that will be the real help if you find yourself facing a natural disaster or other emergency situation.
About the Author:
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber