Last week’s devastating M7.8 Earthquake in Nepal, and its many aftershocks, are a grim reminder of just quickly disaster can strike anywhere in the world.
One minute everything is normal, and the next . . . lives are altered, and normalcy and stability may be months or even years away.
For years the American Red Cross, FEMA, Ready.gov, and just about everyone else in emergency services has urged that individuals and families be prepared to deal for at least 72 hours after a major disaster.
The operative words being, `at least’. Being able to go a week, or even 10 days would be even better (see When 72 hrs Isn’t Enough ), and with good reason
The logistics of delivering emergency assistance to millions of people - while hampered by bad weather, crippled communications, damaged infrastructure, and stressed supply chains - all within the first three days of a major disaster, are daunting, and in some cases impossible.
The popularity of Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel has a lot of people believing that preparedness is all about getting ready for the perpetually 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.
While we can’t pick and choose what emergencies will befall us – we can elect whether or not to be prepared to deal with them – which is why federal agencies like FEMA and READY.GOV work year-round to encourage Americans to think about their risks, and to prepare for them.
To that end, last year FEMA and READY.GOV introduced National PrepareAthon! Day, which is actually part of a two-season campaign for better preparedness. The spring National PrepareAthon! Day occurs on April 30th, while the fall component comes on September 30th at the close of National Preparedness Month.
To learn how you can take part, go to America's PrepareAthon!
America's PrepareAthon! is an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and communities to prepare for specific hazards through drills, group discussions, and exercises.
National PrepareAthon! Day is April 30, 2015 and will revolve around taking the actions to prepare for these six specific hazards:
The goal of this campaign is to increase the number of individuals who:
- Understand which disasters could happen in their community
- Know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage
- Take action to increase their preparedness
- Participate in community resilience planning
What can I do?
- Register to participate in America’s PrepareAthon! and provide details about the activities you’re planning.
- Plan your own local community or organizational preparedness event
- Participate in discussion forums online with like-minded community members
- Learn the actions to take for disaster preparedness and practice them!
Where can I find more information?
- For more information about disasters, preparedness, and ways to get involved in America's PrepareAthon!, click here to access the America's PrepareAthon! Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions.
As a former paramedic, I can’t stress enough the importance of being prepared to deal with the unexpected, and having the basic resources on hand to get through an emergency.
Things like 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.
Having enough stored water for at least 3 days (1 gal/day per person + pets), a reasonable supply of non-perishable food, a NWS Emergency weather radio, a little cash in case the ATMs and Credit Card readers are down, and a safe form of emergency lighting (not candles) are all things every household should have on hand.
And for my money, perhaps most importantly, having – and being – a `disaster buddy’.
In NPM14: In an Emergency, Who Are You Going To Call?, I wrote 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. And the more `disaster buddies’ you have in your personal network, the more options you will have in an emergency.
And for more on emergency preparedness, you may wish to revisit some of these earlier blogs.