Are You Ready for Disasters?

yellow yield sign with are you ready?Disasters strike. The only thing we don’t know is who, what, when, where, how, and why. We may have some information, but never do we have all of the information. Tropical  storm Harvey is an epic reminder. And we’re only in the very early stages of this natural disaster.

Merriam-Webster has this definition:

a sudden calamitous event bringing great damage, loss, or destruction; a sudden or great misfortune or failure

The thing about disasters and tragedies is that we can never be fully prepared. Oh, we can do a lot to mitigate the disruption, but there will always be something that is beyond the scope of what we could have anticipated. We can be warned about a weather event, but as in the case of Harvey, the warning could never have prepared the Houston area for the amount for water they would actually receive. There are still a lot of natural disasters like earthquakes, or other losses like accidents, that we can’t determine.

Humanity is resilient.  We may not be able to change the fact that we are in the midst of a disaster, but we can reduce fear, anxiety, stress, and loss by having a plan. There will be uncertainties, surprises, and the shock of it that will hit us later, but a plan takes the pressure off what to do when we can’t – or don’t have time- to think.

I have lived through earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and forest fires. I was not at home and separated from my sons when any of them hit. This was before mobile phones and internet! It was scary. I was not fully prepared.

Not all disasters are natural. Pipes burst, power goes out, or an accident occurs. A motorcyclist might even go through your front window, hitting the gas main. This actually happened recently on our quiet street. The first two houses on both sides of the street had to evacuate themselves and their pets.

Where do we even begin?

Have a Plan

In another life I was a civilian chaplain for a special forces group. They were often called out in the middle of the night to do a covert operation in some undisclosed part of the world. They’d grab their go bag and be gone. Their families never knew where they were or how long they’d be gone. The families had a plan, just as their service member did. It was still disruptive, but the plan did it help families with expectations and helped put into place some coping mechanisms.

Make part of your plan  to have a go bag for every person and pet in your family. Also have a three-day supply for sheltering in place. Having these essentials ready means you can just go at a moment’s notice. Sometimes a moment is all you have.

Make a plan today. Next time we’ll focus on the hard part of being in a disaster – coping with recovery.

Are you ready?

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