We begin the New Year with a Blizzard warning of the entire New England coastline with winter storm Hercules affecting over 100 million people from the Midwest to the East coast. How many people were in auto accidents, stuck on highways, left without power, flooded by the Atlantic Ocean’s fury? How many went without heat, medical supplies and prescriptions? Some people were trapped in their work places and homes. Do they have heat, know who to contact or enough food to keep them warm and free from hunger while the storm rages on, or are they unprepared? What classifies as an emergency, what is a disaster and what needs to be done to prepare?
What is an emergency? The Encarta Dictionary: English (North America) defines an emergency as “an unexpected and sudden event that must be dealt with urgently.” The term, emergency, has a broad meaning. An emergency encompasses everything from a child’s scrapped knee to a cataclysmic event. Emergencies that are more common happen in everyday life. For example, a car accident, a water heater that springs a leak or a power failure. Other types of emergencies include severe weather (hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards), natural phenomena (earthquakes, floods), and terrorism.
Emergencies happen frequently in our daily lives, some are so insignificant they are hardly worth mentioning, others are so terrifying we hope and pray they never happen. Emergencies are like the common cold, they can occur at any time but they are not always preventable. Using the analogy of the common cold, the best way to avoid it is to take precautions, drink fluids, stay warm and dry and eat healthy. The common cold could create worsening effects such as the cold turning into pneumonia. Emergencies also require preventative measures. We do not know what kind of emergency will happen, or when it will happen, but if we prepare ourselves for the eventuality of one, we might be able to prevent a disaster from becoming worse.
When the water heater floods the basement and ruins everything, that is a personal disaster, but it is recoverable. A disaster of magnitude, such as an ice storm, can leave you without power, heat, communication, and food reserves for days or even weeks at a time. A hurricane or tornado has no mercy on its victims. Natural disasters appear to occur with increasing frequency (please see our previous blogs). Is it because of global warming, natural events that happen without our knowledge or some inexplicable and incomprehensible power? Researchers, politicians, scientists and educators alike are trying to find the answer(s). All that we humans can do in the interim, while we are waiting for a preventable way to avert a disaster, is to be prepared.
When a meal is prepared, there is a method to the preparations. First, a list of ingredients must be made. Then, someone must make a trip to the grocery store to shop for the food. When the foodstuffs arrive in the kitchen, the preparing of the food for cooking begins, and finally the actual cooking of the food. Now it is time to eat. Preparedness, like cooking, involves planning. You cannot make chicken for dinner if you do not have chicken. When planning for an emergency, have food that is easy to prepare. It sounds simple; it is simple – to be prepared.
Have an Emergency Disaster Preparedness plan.
- Put the plan in writing.
- Have a pre-designated meeting place in case of a communication breakdown.
- Have contact names and numbers written down, because in times of stress they could be forgotten.
- Have a survival kit or survival kits for each member of your household.
- Have emergency tools and supplies that you can grab and go.
- Make sure you have a first aid kit; small cuts could cause major infections in a disaster area.
- Have a portable shelter such as a tent or tarp, tent stakes and rope.
- Be prepared with prepackaged food in air and watertight containers to prevent spoilage and contamination.
- Have bottled water or a water filtration system to remove contaminants from unclean water.
- Have extra fuel for heating and cooking.
- Have a change of clothing and footwear ready to go.
- Have a way to keep warm such as extra blanket(s) in the car or with the survival kit.
Follow FEMA recommendations for your location. If you do not know how to contact your local Emergency Management Agency, contact us, and we will assist you.
We are the EmergencyDisasterPreparedness.com Company that is concerned for your needs, your safety and your well-being. Visit our website and start making your own Emergency Disaster Preparedness plan.