Being prepared for a natural disaster can bring a sense of security and peace of mind. But it’s understandable to feel stressed, especially if you’re unsure about the realities of these disasters. It’s important to educate yourself and your family about what to expect and how to stay safe.
I’ve always had a fascination with severe weather and natural disasters, but it wasn’t until I worked as an EMT that I truly understood the importance of being prepared for life’s uncertainties. I saw firsthand how quickly life can change. I knew I needed to take action to better protect and care for my growing family.
During my time as an EMT, a friend of mine volunteered with FEMA and participated in several operations, including Super Storm Sandy in 2012, the tornadoes in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Moore, Oklahoma in 2013. Listening to his experiences further solidified the reality of the need for preparedness especially for widespread disasters.
Realities of natural disasters
Every time he would come home he would share about his experiences, and this is some of the eye-opening realities that he experienced:
- In major disasters, help may be days away. The assistance coming is often inadequate to reach everyone, as we witnessed during Hurricane Katrina when people waited for weeks for assistance. Not only is help days away but help is going to go to the hardest hit areas with the most amount of people. That means if the hardest hit and most populated area is not where you happen to be then chances are you might not get the help you need. If by chance you are living in the hardest hit area with the most amount of people then, you have to share a limited number of resources with a lot of other people who may or may not be in worse shape than you are in.
- It’s crucial to be self-reliant for at least a week. You need to have supplies like water, fuel, warmth, and food readily available.
- Gasoline and bottled water vanish instantly in times of crisis, emphasizing the need to be proactive in securing these essentials.
- Local resources become overwhelmed during big or small disasters. Even a single car accident can strain the resources of nearby areas, including hospitals and emergency response teams.
- Major disasters can cut off roads, communication, and infrastructure. Making it nearly impossible for outside help to arrive in a timely manner.
- Shelters, while often necessary, can be challenging. Imagine being in a room with over 5,000 people, limited privacy, and shared facilities. It’s crucial to be mentally prepared for the less-than-ideal conditions that may arise.
- Many insurance policies don’t cover disasters, and homeowners are often unaware of this. It’s essential to review your policy and ensure you have adequate coverage.
What are some practical steps you can take?
Here are some practical steps I’m taking:
- Stocking up: I’m storing ample water and non-perishable food supplies to sustain my family for at least a week.
- Fuel reserves: Maintaining my vehicles at half a tank or more, along with extra containers of fuel, is essential to stay mobile during emergencies.
- First aid know-how: Learning basic first aid skills helps me to provide immediate assistance to my family and neighbors if needed.
- Shelter alternatives: I’m exploring backup shelter options like tents, RVs, or even utilizing my vehicle to avoid crowded mass shelters.
- Insurance check: It’s important to talk to my insurance agent and ensure that my policy covers all the necessary aspects needed during a disaster.
Being proactive and prepared can make a significant difference in keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe.
Interested in how you can be more prepared for a natural disaster? Try these links!