Trail Access Advocate
DON'T BE LEFT IN THE DARK!
Plan, Prep and Practice.
by Del Albright
Disaster planning and prepping are key to surviving major messes in today's world. Fire, flood, hurricane, you name it, the lessons I learned in 30 years of fire service, including "strategic planning and responses to disaster management" are simple -- but usually neglected by most of us. It's never too late. Here are my (past Fire Chief) suggested 10 things to save your life (and help you recoup) in disasters:
1. PICS: Take pics; lots of them. Videos too. Of your house, your prepping, your current/before condition and save them for insurance purposes later, especially before a fire or flood evacuation.
2. INSURANCE: Make sure your insurance DOES in fact cover the messes you might face.
3. HOMEWORK: Talk to experts who have lived thru whatever disasters are common in your area -- or like floods that only happen once in several decades. Ask what lessons they learned. What about pets like horses, dogs, cats, etc. Where do they go?
4. GO-BAGS: Have go-bags that include medical supplies, water and food -- in every car/rig. Get a good first aid kit as part of this -- not a $20 blue light special. Get Water treatment kits that let you drink collected water without worrying about virus/bacteria -- cheap kits readily available nowadays. Learn to use the items that will save your life from infection, bleeding, etc.
5. TABLE TALKS: Discuss evacuation planning with your family and friends nearby. Especially with kids when it comes to fire. "Table Talk" scenarios and role playing are great ways to be ready for anything. you'd be surprised at what you come up with if you sit down, spouse to spouse and ask "what would you do if we were separated and a disaster of major proportions hit?"
6. COMMUNICATIONS: If you are a HAM radio person, carry it and a charger -- even if you don't use it (Go Bag) -- especially during fire season or flood season. But for sure, keep a charger with your phone in every car. And speaking of that, car batteries can be killers if they are in bad shape and don't do their job when you need them.
7. FEMA: Get the free material in your area from folks like FEMA, your fire department, OES, whatever. Read it and use it.
8. PLAN: Make a Plan! Red Cross has a sample template (there are others as well):http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/be-red-cross-ready/make-a-plan
9. WORST CASE:Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Your
"what if" planning should include worst case scenarios and what you would do. Hospital ER rooms might be full; evacuation centers may not be adequately organized; cell towers could be down; and you may lose contact with family members. Ouch. Now what?
10. COMMON SENSE: Never lose sight of your common sense, and STAY CALM. Like in the old days of the Boy Scouts -- BE PREPARED; be alive.
Hope this helps.