As so elegantly explained in this catchy tune and elaborated on in this recent interview, when TSHTF, the first 'first responder' who will attend to the disaster in your home will be you. Whether you need police, fire, medical, the gas company, the electric company, or animal control to deal with a crisis, you will be the first line of defense before anyone else arrives to help you (unfortunately in some places, it may be an "if" help arrives rather than a "when"). In this regard...
- Practice prevention. The reason the police host community safety days and the reason fire departments install smoke detectors in people's homes, is that preventing a problem by taking proactive steps to avoid the problem in the first place is much better than having to deal with the problem itself. Secure your home, prepare your property ahead of time for wildfire season, take steps to improve your health, prevent falls and other injuries in your home, wear a helmet when dirt biking, etc. Preventing a problem is better than having to fix a problem after it becomes a crisis.
- Prepare. Assess the most likely disasters that could affect you and then take steps to prepare. Take a first aid and advanced first aid course to learn how to deal with medical emergencies and take gun safety and tactical shooting courses to learn how to defend yourself as well as to learn the local laws when it comes to self defense. Earthquake-proof your home if you live in an area prone to earthquakes. Take a CERT course to learn about community safety, get licensed as a HAM radio operator so you will have a means of communication in a disaster, and watch a YouTube video to learn how to shut off your natural gas line in the event of an emergency; the more prepared you are, the more efficiently and effectively you will respond to an emergency.
- Gear up. In order to respond immediately to an emergency, be sure you have the necessary gear on hand ahead of time. Have a comprehensive first aid kit in order to respond to a medical emergency, have a fire extinguisher to quickly take care of a kitchen fire, have a non-sparking gas shut off wrench near your natural gas meter, have appropriate firearms and ammo to respond to a self defense situation, have a bug out bag packed and ready to go in case you need to evacuate at a moment's notice, etc.
- Take action. As soon as disaster strikes, call 911 to have help on its way before you address the emergency. Assess the situation and determine what's happening and what your response should be. Take appropriate action to deal with the emergency, keeping your own safety top of mind. After the dust settles, do an "after action review" of what worked and what didn't work then use this information to fine tune your future emergency response plans.