Emergency Survival Preparedness, Is America Prepared?
Do you have your emergency survival preparedness supplies, do you have a plan? Do you have your lists? Let’s talk about emergency survival preparedness for a minute. But first, let’s define what that really means. Preparedness is how we change our behavior to limit the impact of disastrous events on the people closest to us. Preparedness is planning, stockpiling emergency water, food and other supplies and equipment and keeping lists of what to have, what to do, what not to do, where to go, where not to go and when to go for each different type of disaster that can possibly strike.
A disaster as defined by FEMA is “An occurrence of a natural catastrophe, technological accident, or human-caused event that has resulted in severe property damage, deaths, and or multiple injuries, “large-scale disaster” is one that exceeds the response capability of the local jurisdiction and requires State, and potentially Federal involvement.
NCDC, National Center for Disaster Preparedness
There was a survey done in August 2011 by the NCDC, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, which tracked US attitudes on domestic preparedness and terrorism over the last ten years, since the 911 attack. In August 20011 they interviewed 1000 adults living in the United States. 52% said they do not have an emergency preparedness plan in place, 49% answered yes. But of the 49% that answered yes to having a plan only 35% of them has at least 2 days of food, water, a flashlight, portable radio and a designated family meeting place if a disaster occurs. The remaining 13% had a few items in place.
Simply put, America is still unprepared for any major disastrous event. The prevalent mindset seems to be one of denial and one that demonstrates a lack of responsibility. “It won’t happen to me” or “I’ll have time later” or “why bother it won’t make a difference” are far too common in the minds of most Americans yet reality has demonstrated time and again that those that are impacted the greatest by disasters are those people with this denial viewpoint.
Another question asked in the survey by the NCDC was, in the event of a major disaster in your community, such as a terrorist attack or a catastrophic natural disaster, how long do you believe it will take first responders, such as fire, police, paramedics, or others such as the National Guard to arrive and assist you if needed? 32% believe that emergency responders will be there within 1 hour, 30% believe that it will be within several hours, and 19% within a day. Now that is a misguided sense of security.
Our local first responders actually do their best to get to everyone who needs help but with the magnitude of a large-scale disaster it almost always exceeds their capabilities and requires State and Federal involvement. Following the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the most recent Hurricane Isaac phones were not working, there were power outages that lasted for days, even weeks or months.
So if you have any misguided sense of how quickly outsiders will come and help you, don’t you owe it to yourself and your family to prepare yourself for your family? Prepare yourself for any emergency with a 72-hour emergency survival kit that you can keep in your home, office or car ready to use when the time comes that disaster strikes.
It is recommended that you have a survival kit with at least 3 days of survival supplies to take care of yourself and family. FEMA recommends that you have enough emergency supplies to take care of yourself and family for 2 weeks. We have much more work to do to make America as disaster-ready as it should be. Emergencies do happen, and they will happen, but if we all prepare now we can save many lives, most importantly your family’s lives.