I always wear my seat belt. I wear a helmet when I ride a motorcycle. Most of us have learned that these things are in our best interest, just in case something goes wrong. I do these things because in the event of an accident I am protected. I do not wear them out of fear, but out of wisdom. An ancient Hebrew proverb says, “A wise man foresees trouble and plans for it. A fool goes on blindly and suffers the consequences.”
If you make preparations out of fear, then you’re going to a lot of effort for the wrong reasons. Some time back we held a Disaster Preparedness class at our church. About 25 people attended. At the class we discussed being prepared, having a kit, making a plan and being informed. Among the topics discussed was the probability of an earthquake off the coast followed by a tsunami and the impact such an event would have on our region. One of the attendees was a young mom who went home, grabbed her kids and pitched a tent out in a field near her house for fear of an earthquake leveling her home in the night. That’s not exactly what we had in mind when we scheduled the class.
The point is, get your kit together but not out of fear. Make your plans and preparations out of wisdom so that when things do go wrong you will be better off than others. You will be in a position to extend help to your neighbors rather than being a victim.
Not long ago there was an article in the newspaper headlined, “Deputies rescue two motorists stuck in snow.” It seems that this couple (Mensa candidates, I’m sure) was on a Forest Service road near Bend, Oregon, when their car became stuck. After trying to get unstuck, the guy takes off on foot for help. Eventually the woman gets worried and dials 911. He gets very cold after walking about three miles, turns around and goes back to the vehicle. The story has a happy ending as searchers find them in their vehicle that same evening. Now get this, a Deputy Sheriff reports that the man was wearing tennis shoes, jeans and a T-shirt. Huh?
Ok let’s analyze this. Number one, if they have cell service why didn’t they just call for help to begin with? And secondly, a T-shirt?! Are you kidding me? Don’t you think that if you are going to be out in the hills playing in the snow you might at least have a sweatshirt or jacket? After all you could get stuck and have to walk out. Not many of the canyons and gullies in our area have cell phone coverage. At least he did have the presence of mind to get back to the vehicle, but overall I’d give him a “D” minus in survival sense and an A plus in dumb luck!
When you plan your winter outing, do a little “what if” thinking. What if we slide off in the ditch and can’t get unstuck. What if a tree falls across the road behind us, blocking our way out. Then fill your coffee thermos and toss your “get home” bag in the back. That’s because you already have it loaded with the supplies and equipment you’d need if one of the “what ifs” happens. Just in case.
As always, if you have any comments or questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns can be found on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is the Postmaster in Bandon, Oregon, and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us.”