Note: This is day 5 of National Preparedness Month . Follow this year’s campaign on Twitter by searching for the #NatlPrep hash tag.
This month, as part of NPM16, I’ll be rerunning some edited and updated older preparedness essays, along with some new ones.
This morning thousands of Florida panhandle families are starting their 4th day without potable water, or electrical power, in the wake of Hurricane Hermine. Some are dealing with flood or wind damage to their homes and businesses, and a few are still in shelters.
Many of those outages are in the state's capital, Tallahassee (see Florida SERT page for details), and while crews are hard at work, it may be several days before all power is restored.
Having been on the receiving side of this sort of thing in the past, I can assure you most of these people are hot, tired, slightly frustrated, and counting the hours until their lives can return to normal.
Yet Hermine - as hurricanes go - was at the low end of the scale, and missed the major population centers on the coast. Its impact - while substantial for thousands of people - is fairly minor when compared to hurricanes Katrina, or Andrew, Camille, or Superstorm Sandy.
On this 5th day of September, FEMA has already recorded 70 Disaster Declarations for 2016, including severe storms, floods, wildfires, blizzards, and tornadoes.
Not a record setting year, but if you and your family were caught up in any of these, I don't think you'd care much whether it makes the Guinness book of Records.
While many on the Internet appear obsessed with surviving a long predicted Armageddon (a massive pole shift, an asteroid strike, or global nuclear war), these more common and realistically survivable threats are the ones we should really be preparing for.
Although I'm a prepper, I'm far from being survivalist (I'm too old and too fat to be more than a well-marbled source of protein for hordes of cannibalistic zombies).
My preparedness background evolved out of necessity (see NPM13: The Making Of A Prepper), not out of a fear of imminent apocalypse. First due to growing up in hurricane country, then to my early career as a paramedic, then by my ten years of living aboard a cruising sailboat, followed by a decade in the backwoods of Missouri.
So I prep for the things that are most likely to happen.
- Prolonged power and water outages (LED lanterns, water storage)
- Store closures (10 days food, Extra Rx Meds)
- Personal injury (first aid kit)
- Emergency shelter repairs (tarps, ropes, etc.)
- And the possibility I might have to evacuate (bug out bag).
I also have (several) disaster buddies, people to whom I can turn in an emergency, even camp out on their couch if need be. They, in turn, know they can call on me in an emergency.
Sure, I could still be taken out by a tornado, a lightning strike, a mutated flu virus, or a crazed alligator . . . but given my age, cholesterol and blood pressure, I'm not going to lose much sleep over low probability threats.
There are admittedly some `big ticket' disasters scenarios that - given enough time - we could someday see, and are certainly worth considering in your preparedness plans (i.e. Great Earthquakes, Solar Storms, Tsunamis, Cyber Attacks, etc.).
And over the next few weeks, we'll take a closer look at a number of them.
But the bottom line is, disasters happen . . and often with little or no warning.
Which explains why FEMA, READY.GOV, and many other agencies actively promote personal, family, and business preparedness, and why September is designated National Preparedness Month.
Because in any emergency, the advantage goes to those who are prepared.