Disasters strike when you least expect it. They are indiscriminate and unpredictable. What do you consider a disaster? Most people think of storms, tornadoes and floods. Remember, not all disasters are life-threatening and impact the masses… also consider unexpected events like car accidents, flat tires, car wrecks, burglaries, reactions to allergies, etc. Start preparing by building simple skills like basic first aid, CPR, and sewing. Then develop more advanced skills like starting fires without matches or a lighter. Let’s visit three disasters that warrant planning - blackouts, natural disasters, and pandemics. Of course, there are others like earthquakes and wildfires – the strategy here is to go through the practice of surviving some types of disasters and eventually adapt plans for other types of emergencies.
Commonly referred to as ‘power outages,’ most blackouts are caused by severe storms or summer heatwaves. Eventually the electrical power does return to normal service, so patience is paramount. When Category-4 Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, it knocked the island home to over 3 million residents into a total blackout. Restoring electricity was very slow and controversial for the U.S. territory. The local government reported that it took 11 months to fully restore power. A similar crisis could happen again.
The food in your refrigerator and/or freezer can spoil within hours of a blackout. Consider acquiring the following items for blackouts:
Battery-operated radio and clock
Extra batteries and power sources - generators, power banks, etc.
Physical copy of contact numbers - immediate and extended family, emergency lines, etc.
Copies of important documents - expect no online services
Ultimately, the main goal during a blackout is to meet and maintain basic needs without electricity. If you have young children, consider toys and games that will keep them calm and occupied. Do you have family members overly hooked on technology screens? Consider implementing screen-free days so and set the expectation that during blackouts, devices won’t have access to electricity or the Internet. Make a list of the things you do daily and think of ways to do them without electricity, if applicable.
Natural disasters continue to reach havoc across the world. While some natural disasters can be predicted by experts, forecasting is never 100% reliable. Don’t wait until an emergency warning is issued before planning and procuring. Too often, grocery stores and gas stations are inundated by the masses when hurricane warnings are announced. If evacuation orders are made by local governments, strictly adhere to their guidance, even if you feel your home is indestructible. Simply put, directives are made when storms have the potential to destroy both property and life. Evacuations are serious and a matter of life or death. Know where your local evacuation centers are and plan easiest travel routes.
State Emergency Response Teams (SERT) list the following as essentials to have during a natural disaster:
Water and water containers (cups, flasks, etc.)
Flashlights and extra batteries
NOAA weather radio
Multitool (with a can opener and blade)
Full tank of gas (properly stored away from heat)
Insurance and social security cards (make copies)
Important documents (sealed in waterproof containers)
Car, house, office keys
Water-proof containers (zip locks, garbage bags, etc.)
Pet food and water
Pet medical record
Consider a ‘bug-out’ or ‘grab-and-go” bag that includes survival essentials.
Make sure your go-to bag is accessible at a moment’s notice. The R72 Grab&Go vest + 8 modular bags was designed specifically for this purpose. Check it out at www.rseventytwo.com or click the vest image.
A pandemic is a global illness without cures, remedies, or vaccines. COVID 19, or the coronavirus has already impacted numerous people across the world. Pandemics should not be taken lightly.
Previous outbreaks include typhus, tuberculosis, leprosy, malaria, yellow fever, measles, smallpox, influenza, and cholera. The Black Plague, HIV/AIDS, and the Scarlet Fever are a few notorious pandemics. Each of these killed millions of people around the globe. The Spanish Flu killed approximately 50 million people.
Is it even possible to prepare for a pandemic? Perhaps the COVID-19 experience we now know will prompt future preparations. In addition to preparations outlined above consider acquiring extra of the following items:
Hand sanitizer – the CDC recommends 80% ethanol or 75% isopropyl alcohol concentrations
Cleaning supplies - bleach, hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial soap, etc.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - masks, gloves, boots, gown, etc.
Toiletry and hygiene supplies - skincare products, deodorants, shaver, etc.
Blankets and clothing
While the electricity is on, the Internet live, the grocery stores full, and time is plentiful, start planning now before urgency sets in.
You got this.