Monday, September 16, 2013

We Interrupt Our Regular Programming...To Talk About Disasters

Today's post was going to be about Bug Out Bags or some other useful bit of preparedness information but there are two disasters making news that need to be addressed.

I'll discuss the shooting in Washington DC tomorrow as information is still coming in and it is kind of useless to make suppositions when there is very little actual information available as of yet.

So today we will talk about the flooding that is hammering Colorado.  Here's some things to consider:

  • Even if you live in an area that is NOT prone to flooding, you should do a bit of research to learn about the dangers of floods and flash floods.  One of the areas that was flooded in Colorado was said to have experienced a "1000 year flood".  Obviously no one would be prepared for such a thing but learning what to do in such a highly unlikely event is good to know.
  • Pay attention to the news.  In the event of a pending flood, the news (radio, TV, online, even alerts on your cell phone) will provide continually updated information on what is happening, what to expect, and what to do (such as evacuation).
  • You should always be prepared to evacuate at a moments notice (not only for floods but for tornadoes, chemical spills, etc).  We will discuss evacuating in a future post.  See how helpful your emergency fund would be in this situation?
  • When the message comes to evacuate, GO!  There were many people who decided not to evacuate when told to and, while that is their prerogative, that also means they shouldn't call 911 for assistance later on when things get really bad.  If you are told to go, go.  Don't make someone else risk their life to help you because you decided that you would be equal to mother nature (you aren't).
  • Have a place to evacuate to.  While communities will set up shelters for evacuees, if you have another place to go, that may be a better option (not only does it leave space for those with absolutely nowhere else to go, but living in a shelter isn't all that pleasant).
  • Don't forget to take important things with you when you evacuate (medications since pharmacies may be closed, important documents, heirlooms that can't be replaced, etc).
  • Make sure you will be taken care of after the disaster.  This includes having comprehensive insurance coverage and making a home inventory BEFORE disaster strikes.
  • Have a communications plan.  In the event of a disaster, communication with loved ones becomes very important.  This can be difficult when all lines of communication are down so determine ahead of time how to communicate with family members who may be searching for you (a HAM radio may be your only option immediately after a disaster, the Red Cross or Google "people finder" can also be useful).
  • Find out what assistance is available after a disaster.  This can range from FEMA disaster assistance to dispersal points for donations of food and water to information on clean up.  Your local newspaper, your local department of emergency management, or Red Cross office will usually provide this information.
  • Finally, flood water is nothing to mess with.  Don't walk in it, swim in it, drive in it, etc.  Flood water kills many people each year, usually due to rapidly rising, rapidly moving water that catches people unaware.  Don't become a victim.
And here are more tips to prepare for a flood:

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