Thursday, September 7, 2017

Prepping Challenges 81 Thru 90--Special Circumstances

If you are young, rich, and healthy, prepping can be a pretty easy thing to do.  That isn't most people.  Many people have a bundle of circumstances that often make prepping difficult to virtually impossible.  Here's what to do if you are any of these special circumstances...

#81--You have an infant or young children.  Generally kids are pretty portable and resilient but they do require extra attention when preparing for a disaster.  From having (a lot) of extra diapers on hand (of both the cloth and disposable type) to having appropriate nourishment for them (formula even if you breastfeed, stockpiled foods that can be easily mashed) there are several things to do to prepare to either bug in or bug out with infants or small children during a disaster.  Find more info here and here.

#82--You are poor.  When people are poor, just surviving from day to day can be a challenge but there are things even poor people can do ahead of time to prepare for a disaster.  First, find out where your local shelters are in case riding out a disaster in your home isn't an option (ie: you live in a trailer in a tornado area).  You can easily stockpile water is used 2l soda bottles, and you can hit up the dollar store for items that can be used during a disaster (a $1 tarp and some paracord are better than nothing when it comes to shelter).  Dumpster diving, even flying a sign asking for handouts isn't out of the question when it comes to procuring needed disaster supply items.  More info here.

#83--You are elderly.  Often the best preparedness activities elderly folks can do, in addition to the usual stockpiling some water and food and medications, is building community and relationships as an informal mutual aid society.  Seniors watching out for each other, either by calling each other often or going to check up on each other in person if someone hasn't been seen for a couple of days, is very common in many senior communities.  Seniors being able to call for assistance, and having family call to warn them about impending disasters, is also useful as a relative can drop off needed water or groceries ahead of time, pick up their prescriptions, etc.  Lot's more information on senior preparedness here, here, and here.

#84--You have a chronic illness.  Being chronically ill usually means being reliant on daily medications/therapy/special devices and within easy reach of medical care if needed.  During a disaster all of these things can be impacted so preparing ahead of time is critical for chronically ill people.  One of the simplest things you can do is have your doctor give you 90-day prescriptions instead of 30-day prescriptions; this will ensure you always have extra medication on hand.  Speak with your doctor and care givers as well as your pharmacist and public health planners to determine what plans you should make ahead of time (you may find out that your county public health office already has a plan in place to assist chronically ill citizens).  There may also be special plans for healthcare-specific shelters, delivery of items like food and meds during a disaster, and other things you didn't even know about going on in your community that can help you before, during, and after a disaster.  Find more info here, here, and here.

#85--You are disabled.  Similar to other plans above, people with disabilities often need physical assistance during a disaster.  Again, planning ahead of time with your support network (doctor care giver, family members, etc) can help a disabled person be better able to deal with an emergency.  Is there a need for a generator to keep critical devices charged?  Is a plan in place for special assistance evacuating from your home?  Are local shelters equipped to help disabled people?  All of these things should be determined ahead of time.  More info here and here.

#86--You have legal issues.  Legal issues, like being on parole, being on the sex offender list, or having a custody order that does not allow you to remove your children from the county can all have a big impact on what happens during and after a disaster.  Recent disasters have brought to light just how these sorts of legal issues can impact disaster survivors (read this and this).  While I usually opt for seeking forgiveness after the fact instead of asking for permission first, in these cases, not following whatever court order you are under could result in a trip back to prison so it is important to ask whoever has you on a short leash what you should do in these instances and GET IT IN WRITING.

#87--You are mentally ill.  Like the aforementioned special circumstances, folk who are mentally ill have particular challenges when planning for a disaster.  Having access to meds is important, as is being able to seek shelter in a shelter that can meet your needs.  This is why pre-planning ahead of time with your team (family, doctors, care givers, therapists, etc) is important in order to develop a workable plan for what you should do before, during, and after a disaster.  More info here, here, and here.

#88--You are homeless.  On the one hand, homeless people impacted by a disaster aren't being displaced from actual homes, but they do become displaced from important parts of their life which includes friends, their children's school, meal programs, homeless shelters and support staff, even friendly locals who help them out with food and supplies.  And while homeless folks are pretty resilient and have top notch survival skills, they can still be severely impacted if, for example, the car they are living washes away in a flood.  It is important that homeless folks keep up with the news (flash flood warnings often go out via cell phones to warn the homeless who live in the storm drains under Las Vegas so they can escape before a storm hits), find out where the public shelters are, and keep up with community information and take advantage of any help being offered.  More info here, here, and here.

#89--You are a first responder or an essential staff member.  First responders are a unique population because they are usually exceptionally prepared yet when disaster strikes, and even before, they need to leave their family to go help others while hoping their family remains safe.  It is important that first repsponders share their knowledge with all family members so that not only do they have the resources (water, food, emergency shelter) but they have the knowledge to survive a disaster when mom or dad isn't there.  Banding together with other first responder's families is another idea.  The first responder's agency can, and should, be instrumental in assisting families before, during and after a disaster so that their responders can give their full attention to the mission at hand.  More info here, here, and here.

#90--You don't care.  Well not you because if you didn't care about preparedness you wouldn't be reading a preparedness blog, but we have all come across people who would rather stick their head in the sand than take a few steps to become better prepared for a disaster.  Spouses, friends, co-workers, and family members can all be quite reasonable in general but have no interest in preparing thinking that either nothing will happen to them or that the city has everything taken care of and will come to their rescue.  You can either go it alone and wait to say 'I told you so' after a disaster hits (and the family is all snug and secure because of your advanced planning), you can stock even more preps then happen to drop by your stubborn aunt's house before a huge snowstorm is predicted to hit and tell her you had some extra food and water on hand and wanted to share it with her, or, like a friend of mine, you can buy an RV because all of his friends had RVs and his wife loved the idea of an RV because then the group would hit up the local parks each summer weekend and it was a big party and then when a minor disaster hit they ended up sheltering for a few days in the RV and all was well and the wife had no idea he was actually using the RV opportunity to be even more prepared than he was before.  YMMV on that one.

So the bottom line to prepping for special populations is that advanced planning is even more important than it is for the average person.  And not just planning ahead but planning with an entire team to make sure that there is a triple, even quadruple-redundant, plan in place to help those who will need extra assistance before, during, and after a disaster.

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