After a truly horrendous 2011 – a year that saw a record breaking 14 Billion-dollar-plus weather related disasters (see Weathering Heights: A Year For The Record Books) – we’ve experienced a welcome downturn in the number of major natural disasters in this country.
Credit FEMA as of 8/16/14
With several years of lower-than-normal hurricane activity, a dramatic drop in deadly tornadoes since 2011, and no major seismic events on US soil, it is easy to understand why disaster preparedness might not be at the top of everyone’s agenda right now.
Quite frankly, given the ongoing slow economy and a lack of recent disasters, pitching preparedness is a tough sell.
But if there is one thing beyond death and taxes that you can count on in this world, it’s that natural disasters are inevitable, and that no lull lasts forever. And the penalty for not being prepared for a disaster can be harsh.
Sadly, too few people take preparedness seriously, as evidenced by the numbers in this CDC Infographic.
FEMA and Ready.gov (along with many other state and federal agencies) urge personal, family, business, and community preparedness for all types of natural or man-made disasters, because they know that these events can and will happen.
We’re not talking building a `doomsday bunker’ or stockpiling a 20-year supply of dehydrated food, but rather taking basic steps to prepare your family, business, and community to deal with reasonably-expected disasters for your region.
The smart money says you shouldn’t focus too heavily on a specific emergency or disaster, but instead take an `All Hazards approach’ to preparedness, one that will leave you in good stead no matter what comes down the pike.
Local, state, and federal officials know that during and following any major disaster (hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake) their ability to respond – particularly during the first 72 hours – may be limited.
They also know that essential services - like electrical power, 911 service, and running potable water - could be out in some communities for days or even weeks.
Which makes having minimum preps (at least 3 days of food & water, first aid supplies, flashlights & lanterns, an NWS emergency radio, and a workable emergency plan) essential for every family and business.
Of course, 3 days is a minimum recommendation. Most emergency managers would concede that having more (say, a week or 10 days) would be far preferable (see When 72 Hours Isn’t Enough).
While I’ll be blogging a great deal next month on preparedness issues, it isn’t too soon to begin your preparations. Disasters don’t respect time tables or calendars.
One prep, in particular, I consider to be the most important of all.
In NPM13: The Greatest Prep Of All, I wrote about the importance of having, and being, a disaster buddy. Nothing beats cultivating a network of family and friends to whom you can turn for help during a disaster, and who can turn to you for aid if they need it.
Prepping doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. A family can usually put together a decent emergency plan, and set aside a basic 3-day stash of supplies, over a single weekend. The important thing is to do it now, before you need them.
To get you started, I would invite you to visit:
AMERICAN RED CROSS http://www.redcross.org/
If you can’t wait for next month’s onslaught of preparedness blogs, you can search for some recent related content by clicking this link.