If just watching the news the past few days doesn’t motivate you to begin to prepare for a disaster then you might want to check your pulse. Locally we have wildland fires that are burning unchecked across a large portion of the Northwest. Offshore breezes have improved our air quality, but the landscape is still being scorched.
Reports of a major earthquake offshore from Mexico City remind those of us in the Pacific Northwest of the Cascadia Subduction Zone parked off the coast about 60 miles that could break loose at any moment and unleash a 9.0 earthquake, the likes of which none of us have ever seen.
Then there is the mop-up still underway in Houston and vicinity. Thousands of volunteers, electrical linemen, EMS and even the Cajun Navy is still busy rescuing folks out of their flooded homes. One video I saw even showed a couple of guys on their jet skis picking up flood victims and taking them to dry ground via jet ski.
At this writing, Hurricane Irma is churning her way up the West Coast of Florida, leaving a path of destruction in her wake. I believe this is the first time I have ever witnessed the encouraged evacuation of an entire state. Most are heeding the urgings of authorities while some are staying behind to “ride it out”.
For those still affected by the disaster in your area, there’s not much you can do now to pre-pare. If you haven’t pre-positioned your supplies or your plan, now is too late. You are either at the mercy of the weather, the shelter managers or the incident commanders in your area. Either way, because you have failed to make decisions ahead of time, someone else is making choices for you. Personally I prefer to make my own choices. It is just possible that someone else’s judgement is flawed and to subject my safety and the well-being of my family to their choices is simply not acceptable.
Make a commitment right now to start putting things together when this is over. Never again do you want to be in this situation. Never again do you want to be “not in control” of your safety when disaster strikes. If you’re telling yourself that this will never happen again, then you’re listening to a fool! Get over yourself and start doing the responsible thing. There is simply no excuse for not laying in extra canned goods. Shop the sales and the BOGO deals. Watch for the cases of bottled water to come on sale. Check the garage sales for a good camp stove. Pick up a few extra soup mixes the next time you get groceries. There is no need to buy one of those expensive kits online. You can make your own for usually much less than the guy online is asking for the pre-assembled kit. Often they contain items you will never use, or take the time to learn about. Buy your own kit components, that way you are invested and you know what you’ve got in that bag. Plan on starting with a 72 hour kit. If you live along the California, Oregon or Washington coast, keep going until you have at least a two or three week supply. There are great lists on my blog, ready.gov, or www.redcross.org. (You could buy my book and it’s all spelled out there.) Point is, there is no time like right now to get started. Your children and loved ones are counting on you.
As always, send your questions and comments to email@example.com. Previous columns are on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is a retired Postmaster and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers