Prepare and defend against a disaster


According to FEMA's web site, there has been a major disaster or emergency declaration an average of 135 times per year since the year 2000. These numbers do not include county & state disaster declaration, house fires, or any other disaster that affects a smaller area or just your house or family. The question is, are you prepared?

Most of us think it will never happen here, or if it does, we will let the experts take care of us. I am one of those experts as a Paramedic working in the field of EMS. Most people would be surprised at how overwhelmed emergency services become in a disaster. According to FEMA, you should have what you need to survive for 72 hours. Yes, that is three days! Emergency services is organized to take care of daily needs in a local area, then relies on neighboring services for extra help when the need arises. If a large disaster happens, such as a tornado, hurricane, or snow storm, these neighboring services will be unavailable because this has affected their area as well, or they are unable to reach your location because of downed trees, electrical, wires, or other debris in the road.

Steps to Survival

Be informed

Make a Plan

Build an Emergency Kit

Get involved

To be informed, make a list of emergencies that could happen where you live, including things such as, natural disasters, fire, accidents, pandemics, or any other emergencies you can think of. Then find out what the plan is for your local area for each of the emergencies, including how you will be alerted, where the shelters will be located, evacuation routes, or how to manage a shelter in the place you happen to be when disaster strikes .

Make a plan. Beside each of the above emergencies you need to write a plan. You will use what you learned about your local areas alert system, shelters, and evacuation routes to build a plan that will be the best for your family. This plan also needs to include consideration of different ages, responsibilities for assisting others, locations frequented, dietary needs, medical needs including prescriptions and equipment, disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment, languages, cultural and religious considerations, pets or service animals. You will also need to include a meeting point for family members in case you are separated. Do not assume that your usual communication methods will be available. You will need to figure food and water consumption for the 72 hour period.

Build a kit. This may be as easy as looking online for a ready-made Emergency Kit, or you may want to customize it with a list of your own first aid supplies. Whichever one you choose, this should not be just one kit. You should have a kit in each vehicle, at least one at home, one in the RV, plus one at work if your workplace does not have enough to go around. Remember, the work place first aid kits are built to fill an everyday need and you are in an extreme situation. Your kit should include emergency lighting, medications if needed, water, food, distress signals, infant needs if needed, shelter, clothes, adjustable wrench for turning off utilities, and fire starter or other heat source. The kits in the car and RV will need to be customized for how you will use them plus the space available for storage. These kits should then be stored in a dry cool area that is easy to access, so you will be able to get to them quickly. Make sure everyone in the family knows where it is and how to use it.

Get involved. The easiest way to get involved is take a first aid class. You will learn basic life saving skills, such as how to stop bleeding, splinting, taking care of heart attack, and stroke patients, how to deal with burns, and environmental injuries. If you decide to become further involved, check out joining your local fire or EMS service. They may be volunteer organizations and are very willing to help you with training. Other organization like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, local clubs, or even your local government may be looking for people to sit on committees to plan for these events.


Source by Brian L Eveleth

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