Sunday, September 2, 2012

Are You Prepared for These Five Most Common Disasters?

Following up on last week's Anderson Cooper show about preparedness, here are five disasters that are most likely to happen to you (note that TEOTWAWKI isn't on the list.  In fact, it didn't even crack the top ten so people who think that survivalists/preparedness folks are only interested in running through the woods in their Ghilkie suits with their AKs are sadly misinformed about what it means to actually be prepared for a disaster).

  1. A financial crisis.  Your furnace dies in the middle of winter, your car's head gasket blows at a most inopportune moment (or any moment since any time would be inopportune), your kid needs braces yesterday unless you want him to end up looking like Mr Ed, etc.  You need to: have an emergency fund.
  2. A personal crisis.  A death, a divorce, a job loss, an extended illness, Jerry Springer showing up on your get the idea.  You need to: have an emergency fund AND have all of your ducks in a row (have a Will, Medical Power of Attorney, an updated home inventory, a stocked food pantry, various insurance coverages, etc).
  3. A winter storm.  It isn't if but when a major storm will hit your area, and it will probably include massive snowfall, a massive wind event, or massive flooding.  Generally no matter where you live a storm will come up, almost like clockwork, and leave you without power, without access to food and/or water, and/or with the contents of the first floor of your home floating away.  You need to: have an emergency fund, and all of your ducks in a row, and have an evacuation plan and/or a shelter in place plan with secondary options for heating and cooking and saving your valuable, etc.
  4. A local hazard will hit your area.  Again, it isn't if but when a disaster common to your area will strike. This could mean an earthquake on the west coast of the US, a tornado in the midwestern portion of the US, or a hurricane on the south/southeastern coast of the US.  You need to: find out what type of major disaster is common to your area and plan ahead.  Besides having and emergency fund and all of your ducks in a row and having both an evacuation and a shelter in place plan, you should also do the following: if you live on the west coast tie everything down including your home's frame to the foundation and your water heater to the wall.  If you live in tornado country you need to have a basement and a weather radio.  If you live in an area that floods have a boat and a way to quickly get your belongings to higher ground, and if you live in a place where hurricanes are common, know when to evacuate and have plywood and nails on hand for boarding up your house...and sandbags too.
  5. Something totally unforeseen will happen.  Although random disasters make the news and scare the bejesus out of people, they are exceedingly unlikely to occur (nevertheless they do happen on occasion).  You need to: do the general things that will have a positive impact on the likelihood of surviving a random disaster--be in good physical shape, have a daily carry bag with you at all times which is full of useful stuff, have a wide range of survival skills that you practice regularly, have useful hobbies that could help you in a disaster, continually think of worst case scenarios wherever you happen to be and consider logical ways to survive such disasters, etc.

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