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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Increasing the level of preparedness and getting ready when disaster strikes

I think that it would be interesting discussing what we can do to increase our level of preparedness after a disaster struck or if one has good information that some kind of danger is imminent like a hurricane.

Responding to an emerging crisis
A crisis or survival situation may manifest either without any previous warning or after a series of warnings. If a warning is given before a crisis the warnings are often mixed with conflicting information making it very hard to estimate how serious a threat really is.

After a disaster the information that goes out to the public can contain contradicting information about how serious the incident or situation really is. This is often even more serious if the threat or situation is something that is not normal or unfamiliar. Unknown threats present large problems for first responders but also for politicians and other leaders of a community. Researching different kinds of potential threats can make it easier for you to understand what is going on during a crisis situation and what you can expect.

Some of the steps that I would consider
• Try to stay updated by following the news in the media and through the radio. Write down information as it comes in, make a timeline.
• Make a check with family and friends and get an update of their situation.
• If the situation might call for an evacuation check Bug Out Bags, Vehicles, Fill up water bottles and check potential escape routes. Is there any information that suggests that these routes may be blocked or inaccessible?
• Is there any other specific tools or equipment that the situation may call for in addition to the supplies that you’re Bug Out Bag contains?
• Make an inventory/check of the status for water, food, light, storage of gasoline and medical supplies. What specific needs may this threat call for? Is there anything you can do to improve these needs or minimize the consequences?
• Fill up additional water storage if possible.
• Make some additional research about the threat, previous events and lessons learned.

A crisis or survival situation will be both stressful and frustrating. Sometimes help from outside sources may come very fast from first responders but in other situation the scale of a disaster may overwhelm a society and you may have to make do with what you have. If external help is not available you will have to manage the situation yourself.

If you can can’t keep warm or get access to water a bad situation may get lethal in case of a long lasting emergency or natural disaster quite fast. The equipment and preparations that you have made before a crisis can mean the difference between life and death. It can also prove to be the difference between having to endure a crisis under extreme hardship or with ease.

No matter the situation it is very important that you
• Try to stay positive, alert and calm
• Don’t second guess yourself or think about what you could have done differently to avoid or divert the situation, keep the focus on the situation at hand.
• Keep planning and taking steps to reduce the consequences of the disaster. The situation will most likely continue to change and it’s important that you stay updated.
• Keep a regular update on water and supplies – what should your priority be right now?
• Make sure that everyone has a task to do and get organized. Just sitting around and waiting will not improve a bad situation. Make sure that water gets collected and purified, that food get prepared on regular times if possible, take care of hygiene and try to keep the location you’re in as clean and organized as possible.
• How one should handle a situation if there is children present can be difficult. But I would recommend that you explain the situation as best you can and explain what you are doing to make it better. If you don’t know answers don’t be afraid to say so.
• Look after your friends and family.

For more information and articles: The Free Online Survival Guide

So what would you prepare if a disaster is imminent or have just taken place?