Hurricane Harvey has just about devastated parts of Texas; the water is still rising, and hundreds of thousands of people have had to leave their homes and businesses. Even with FEMA, the Red Cross, rescue workers, thousands of volunteers and regular folks helping out, the damage is horrific. Some lives have already been lost, and some people just have the clothes on their backs, their families and their pets.
In times like these, where often the best of humanity shines, we who are not affected by the hurricane wonder what we would do in a disaster such as this. Recently I posted a 72-hour emergency kit, listing all the things necessary to ride out most disasters.
But what happens when all our emergency supplies are submerged in water? What then do we do? This is how disasters can teach us to be as ready as possible. If we can think about what we might do to prepare in advance for a disaster, we can at least have peace of mind, knowing that we have a plan in place.
Even something as small as contacting friends or relatives and agreeing on a place to meet or, if phones are in service, agreeing to set up a *telephone tree. For peace of mind about important papers such as birth records, social security cards, etc., it’s easy enough to store them in an easy-to-reach sealed plastic bag. You can also invest in a small water-tight safe, either portable or in a wall safe, or just get a safe deposit box at your bank.
Another easy precaution is putting together what I call the “Arma Gettin’ Outa Here” bag (Armageddon bag, get it?). This, too, can be in an easy-to-reach bag or backpack that you can carry. In it, you can put freeze-dried food, toilet paper, sanitary supplies, a week’s worth of medications, a First Aid Kit, hand sanitizer, a set of clothes and extra shoes, keepsakes, and so on. Keep the bag/backpack in a place where you can grab it and go.
Important Note: If you have put your bag/backpack together, mark on your calendar to upgrade anything that might spoil or go out of date, especially your meds.
For your pets, have clean carriers ready with a clean blanket or towel inside. Mark the carrier with your name, address, phone number, pet’s name, your pet’s vet’s name, and location in indelible ink or a water-proof label. Be sure that you have a supply of food and water for them with you as well. There are many places where you can even order a hydration pack so that you can carry more water.
The bottom line in all this is to be as prepared as possible. A disaster might never happen, but in case it should, you will have the peace of mind knowing that you have a plan in place. This will keep you prepared, NOT scared.
*All a telephone tree is really just this: one person is in charge of calling the first person on the telephone list. That person then calls the next person, and so on.