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How To Prepare For A Disaster?

August 28, 2008

Is there any real way that you can prepare yourself, your family, your co-workers and friends for a disaster? The answer to this is yes and no. Of course there are certain things that we can all do to prepare for all sorts of situations, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, floods, fires or other such disasters.  There are steps to take preparing for and responding to an emergency situation. Here is an online resource to get started www.prepare.org

The part of the equation that is most difficult to prepare for is the emotional turmoil that is associated with any disaster. Coping with the trauma and emotions that precede the event and follow shortly after, takes skill, patience, faith and sometimes-professional help.

I just read Bruce Aronson’s blog entry on “What To Do In Case Of Hurricane!” and it brings to mind a disaster that affected me over 14 years ago, the 1994 Northridge Earthquake in California. My family and I thought we were prepared for an earthquake. We had only lived in California, earthquake country, for 6 years, we had educated ourselves as much as possible and we created our very own earthquake kit, which consisted of water, food, a radio, batteries, first aid kit, money, $100 in small denominations, and probably some other items that I am neglecting to mention. We owned earthquake insurance and discussed our exit strategy in the event of an earthquake. No matter how prepared my husband and I thought we were, I can assure you we had no idea of the actual impact of this event on our lives, emotionally or physically, and in retrospect we were not as prepared as we should have been.

The shaking in our home on that Monday morning in January 1994 rudely awakened us. My husband and I instantly realized that we were experiencing an earthquake and we reacted immediately by running down the hallway to collect our three children and get all of us to a safer place. The funny thing about our earthquake kit is that it resided in our entry closet that was now impossible to get into since the entire house had structurally changed and the door would no longer open. All of the north and south walls moved out of the house, some walls fell down, along with most of the furniture, and we came to find out that the home was structurally destroyed.

In an instant our life had changed in so many ways that it is impossible to write them all down here for you to read. But the lasting impression that I would like to leave with you is the importance to educate yourself and your families on the situations that you need to be prepared for wherever it is that you live. The Internet is a wonderful resource to help you in this quest for knowledge. Don’t sit by and think that you are immune from forces that are not within our control and take the time to prepare for an event that I pray will never affect you. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Then consider how you can help those who are in harms way or are dealing with the aftermath of a disaster.

If you have a question or comment… please write. These are my outside views. Marcia Blake

PS: On a lighter note, if you are going to save small money in your survival kit, put the money in a zip tight water resistant baggy, our money was in a simple white envelope and one of the water containers that we had in the earthquake kit had leaked, the money was soaked over time and when we finally got into that closet and retrieved the earthquake kit, the money was no longer recognizable.