Thursday, July 27, 2006

Disaster Prep: It’s That Time Of The Year Again

The recent heavy rains here in the DC area and the official onset of hurricane season got me thinking about disaster preparedness again.

Countertop was apparently thinking along the same lines, and has a good post and some links.

Father Frog posted a very good-- and sobering-- set of reports on the Katrina aftermath by a correspondent who made it a point to be prepared for just such an event, yet was nearly overwhelmed by folks who weren't.

John Farnam also posted a great list of items to have in your car or truck at all times: “I can't say it too often: You're on your own! Never depend upon a "system" or upon anyone else to care about your welfare more than you do.” (Look under 17 Feb 2004.)

These are the main points I gleaned from the sites above, and from other reports:

1. Get your whole family ready to exist for a set period of time without assistance in basic daily needs. The length of time depends on you and your situation. Think necessities, not luxuries. You want to be able to handle daily existence without being a burden to anyone and without being a target for anyone.

2. Update your preparations regularly; what you set aside six months ago for your infant son isn't very useful now. This goes for documents too. Insurance policies, licenses, etc… are they current or expired?

3. Don't advertise too much of your preparations, or you might get some unwanted attention from friends, neighbors and the authorities.

4. Arm yourself—what, you haven't armed yourself??—and do it now. Have a back-up set, throwaway guns, in case the authorities decide to confiscate them. And practice with all of them.

5. It doesn’t take much to create an emergency situation, and the problem doesn’t have to be in your neighborhood, or even in your county. Think about what can happen that will upset your status quo, and what you can do to mitigate the consequences.

6. Make a comprehensive but flexible plan. Decide now which circumstances make it is best for you to stay put and which will tell you it’s best to get out. And once the time comes to act on that decision, do what you planned. If you decide to get out of the area, make sure you have a definite destination in mind, that your prospective hosts are aware and approve, and that your vehicle is prepared to get you there.I must admit that although our family is in a better position than we were a few months ago, we’re still not fully prepared yet. As I know from years of contingency planning and readiness exercises, it’s a constant struggle to get prepared and stay prepared, but the effort (or lack of) is always repaid in the end.



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