Tuesday, September 30, 2014

America’s Preparathon! : It Started Like Any Other Day


# 9124



Today marks the end of National Preparedness Month, where FEMA and Ready.gov and a coalition of thousands of others (including AFD) have worked all month to promote better disaster preparedness for Americans.  On twitter the hashtags #NPM14 and #NatlPrep will lead you to find many of these efforts.


We know – often because we’ve been there – that disasters do strike, and that the advantage goes to the prepared.


The popularity of Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel  has a lot of people believing that preppers are all getting set for the impending apocalyptic collapse of society.  But for the vast majority of us who embrace the preparedness lifestyle - it is the far more common localized disaster that spurs us on:


. .. hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, blizzards, earthquakes, floods (and yes, even a pandemic)  . . . along with even more limited emergencies like house fires, car accidents, or personal accident and injury.


These types of events happen with surprising regularity - and unlike an abrupt 30 degree shift of the earth’s crust or the eruption of the Yellowstone Super Volcano - are something being prepared for is actually likely to help.  The following 4 minute video called `It Started Like Any Other Day’  illustrates three such examples:



There are many legitimate disaster threats out there – and many can strike without warning -  which is why FEMA, READY.GOV, and many other agencies constantly promote personal, family, and business preparedness.


As a former paramedic, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a good first aid kit at home, and another one in your car.  And just as importantly, learning how to properly use one.


Taking a first-aid course, and CPR training, are both investments that could pay off big someday, for you, and for your loved ones. 


And every home should have no less than a 72-hour supply of emergency food and water, for all of its occupants (including pets!).  This is a bare minimum, here in the United States many agencies and organizations recommend that households work towards having a 10-day supply of food, water, and emergency supplies on hand.


In When 72 Hours Isn’t Enough, I highlighted  a colorful, easy-to-follow, 100 page `survival guide’ released by Los Angeles County, that covers everything from earthquake and tsunami preparedness, to getting ready for a pandemic.


While admittedly California-threat specific, this useful guide may be downloaded here (6.5 Mbyte PDF).


And speaking of California threats, if you live in a seismically active region (and that includes most of the nation) you need to visit Shakeout.org before October 16th to learn how you, your family and your co-workers can take part in this year’s important earthquake drill.



Although I’ve covered a great many specifics for becoming better prepared (see NPM14: Infrastructure Failure Preparedness & NPM14: When You’ve Got To `Get Out Of Dodge’ In A Hurry), there is one prep I consider to be the most important of all.


Having – and being – a `disaster buddy’.


In NPM14: In an Emergency, Who Are You Going To Call?, I wrote about that - A `Disaster Buddy’ is simply someone you have prearranged that you can call on during a crisis, and who in turn, can call on you if they need help.


Much in the way that community fire departments, EMS, and law enforcement agencies have a `mutual aid’ agreement with nearby communities, you should foster the same kind of arrangement with your friends, family, and neighbors.


In the parlance of paramedics, cops, firefighters and the military . . .  you have their back, and in return, they have yours.”  Now - before a disaster occurs - is the time to sit down and talk to your friends, family, and neighbors about how you will help one another during a personal or community wide crisis.


While  National Preparedness Month comes to an end today, the task of becoming better prepared doesn’t end with September – it is a year-round responsibility.  To help you on your way, you can retrieve a list of this year’s NPM blogs by clicking this link.


And for more  potentially life saving preparedness information, I invite you to visit:

FEMA http://www.fema.gov/index.shtm

READY.GOV http://www.ready.gov/

AMERICAN RED CROSS http://www.redcross.org/

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