Disaster Response, Disaster Preparedness

When a disaster like Hurricane Sandy hits, we are reminded yet again that life is fragile. We’ve been reminded before with 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and many other disasters. However, once the dust settles and we’ve had a few days to calm down, the lives of those of us not affected return to normal…and we forget to learn lessons.

Right now, the main focus is on assisting the survivors of this devastating storm. To that end, blogger Jen Malone is offering a charity auction…check out her website if you have an interest in any auction items. I learned about this auction through the Rach Writes blog, so send her some love for passing this on.

What can we learn? Are you prepared for a disaster? Most people aren’t, as evidenced by the way grocery stores empty out just before a storm. I had gotten pretty good at preparing for hurricanes, mainly because I dislike crowds! I guess an anxiety disorder is good for something! We’ve been much more lax, though, now that we live in earthquake country — an unwise move, given that earthquakes often strike without notice. I spent some time yesterday ordering supplies and starting the process of getting organized in case the unthinkable happens. We can’t stop nature, but we can empower ourselves.

Regardless of what type of disaster you are most likely to experience in your area, there are things you can do to be prepared. They include:

  1. Find a safe place to store insurance and financial records. This could be a safe deposit box, or even on the “cloud.”
  2. Never let your car’s gas tank go below a half tank. Has anyone seen the long lines for fuel in the Northeast right now?
  3. Store at least seven days’ food supply and one gallon of water per person per day for seven days.
  4. Keep a “to go” backpack in the house and car. This includes emergency food, first aid, and personal care products. The Red Cross has created several useful kits from which to choose.
  5. Have an evacuation plan.
  6. Learn where to shut off all utilities in your home.

There are a lot more tips available on the Red Cross Website. Washington State also has GetEmergencyPrepared.com, which offers a free, eight-part course on disaster preparedness. It includes a variety of national links useful to anyone.

The weather is changing and becoming ever more severe. The best way to avoid living in fear is to take action. Listen to Hurricane Sandy and the lessons she is offering. Take care!

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