A disaster is something that many of us will experience in life. In fact, I have faced several hurricanes here in Florida as well as a mass casualty event during my military career. I will tell you from experiences that in order to survive those horrible events we need to be prepared. This type of preparation will definitely include equipment, establishing security plans and even changing your mindset. Essentially, we need to be proactive and not reactive. Meaning that we need to prepare for these types of events at a moment notice. Now some people call us preppers or crazy people, but the reality is the preparedness is the key to survival. In fact, the United States government tells us to prepare, and you can find lots of information on Fema.gov as well as other websites. For the purpose of this blog, I will be referencing to some info I found on the Fema website.
My Personal Story
A couple of years ago, my wife and I were blessed with a beautiful little boy named Emmanuel. He came to this world, and it was just a perfect moment in our family lives. Unfortunately, at the same time, we had Hurricane Matthew hitting Florida and my city sustain a lot of damage. According to Wikipedia (which I know is not accurately), we had about 603 fatalities, and in fact, many of them happened outside the United States. Mainly, because other countries do not have the same types of preparations, we are required to have in the United States. Also, this devastating hurricane caused about $15.09 billion in damage, which is just insane.
Now going back to my personal story, we made it home from the hospital a few hours before the hurricane struck our city. In fact, we barely had time to prepare. The hospital pretty much kicked us out and sent us home. Fortunately, we tend to be very well, and we were able to ride the hurricane with no issues. We give thanks to God for protecting us! Netherless, it was a terrifying situation because we had a newborn. Also, my wife was still recovering from giving birth. Just knowing we could not call anyone for help, and we had no electricity as well other needs made it a very stressful situation. Blessed the Lord, we made just fine, however, only a year after we faced a second hurricane. We will leave that one for a different blog.
Recognizing the Threat
So I think before we prepare we need to know the threat. I remember during combat operations we will generally prepare for everything you can think about. Primarily, we were ready to fight the enemy in any way possible. However, we also understood the most likely possible attack. That means we prepare for the worse, but we put extra attention to what most likely will happen. So how does that translate to civilian life? Essentially, we need to understand what most likely we will be facing. For example, in Florida, we are facing hurricanes, California is the most earthquake-prone area in the United States, Oklahoma will most likely be facing tornados, etc. Essentially, understanding the threat is crucial as now we know what to prepare for.
Other Possible Threats
Floods, Hurricanes, Thunderstorms and lightning, Tornadoes, Winter storms, and extreme cold, Extreme heat, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Landslides, and debris flow, Tsunamis, Fires, Wildfires, Terrorist Attack, Civil Unrest, Riots, etc
It is interesting to know that FEMA wants us to prepare. In fact, they provide us with a Before, During and After steps we need to take to protect our families. They tell us (which we should know this already) that it is our responsibility to protect ourselves and our family by knowing what to do during an emergency event. Here are the examples they want us to follow:
• Know the risks and danger signs.
• Purchase insurance, including flood insurance, which is not part of your homeowner’s policy.
• Develop plans for what to do.
• Assemble a disaster supplies kit.
• Volunteer to help others.
• Put your plan into action.
• Help others.
• Follow the advice and guidance of officials in charge of the event.
• Repair damaged property.
• Take steps to prevent or reduce future loss. You will learn more about these and other actions you should take as you prog.
I was Scared for My Family BUT…
I have to say during the last hurricanes I was scared for my family. It is a weird feeling when you know that in a moment notice something horrible could happen. In fact, in my last hurricane, we had an enormous tree fell down half a block away from me. Also, we had a power cable land in our driveway. I was very cautious not to touch it as I remember a great Sgt of mine died in Iraq after stepping on a power line. Now one positive aspect regarding hurricanes is that we know the season, which I believe is from June to November. That means we can somehow prepare for them.
Food & Water
Again, I am using the hurricane example, but this pretty much can be used from many different survival events. Must definitely food and water are crucial needs to your survival. We need to understand that we may not have the opportunity to go buy groceries or water for quite sometime after the emergency. Also, if you wait into the last minute, there is a possibility you won’t find any supplies. I remember hearing of people selling a case of water for $100 after a hurricane. It is sad to see how some people will take advantage of others, but it happens. So buy what you need and have enough for a minimum of a few weeks. Finally, keep in mind any special food you may need. For example, baby food, or any special diet needs. Also, remember to buy other items such as batteries, candles, etc. I would definitely recommend you to have some type of Disaster kit in your garage, which you can pull out in case of an emergency. Below I have listed some Gear you may need during a disaster.
This is definitely NOT everything you need, but at least it will give you an idea:
Battery-powered or hand crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
Flashlight/ Extra batteries
First aid kit
Whistle to signal for help
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Manual can opener for food
Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery or power banks
Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
Pet food and extra water for your pet
Cash or traveler’s checks
Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
Matches in a waterproof container
Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
Communication is Crucial During a Disaster
Communication is crucial during an emergency event. In fact, you need to be able to gather fast information to keep your family safe. Nowadays, information comes so differently from many years ago. First, we can gather information from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. As the hurricane pass through our city, many people in our local community were sharing crucial information. Just a side note, if you are using your cellphone ensure you have a wait to charge it. A great way I have been using for years to charge my phones is the Ankle power banks. Another way to gather important information is by calling your Emergency Operation Center EOC. In case you do not know, your county will have an EOC set up during a disaster. One of their mission is to inform the locals on the status of the disaster. This is wonderful because you receive accurate information versus what mainstream media is reporting.
Do you Need a Firearm During a Disaster
Well, the answer is straightforward, YES! Primarily because criminals will take advantage of any disaster to steal or attack innocent people. Let’s just look at the last few years here in the United States, where we have experienced several hurricanes, wildfires, riots, etc. What we have witnessed is people looting stores, damaging private property, attacking others, and just plain simple taking advantage of innocent people. During the last hurricane we encountered in my city, we actually had several places broke in, and criminals actually stole several firearms. Blessed the Lord, many of those guns were recovered.
So the Bottom line is that not only you need a firearm, but you actually need a home defense plan. Mostly, you have to develop a security plan that covers firearms, communication, immediate action drills, etc. This plan should be very detailed, and it should be discussed with all family members. This will ensure everyone understands what to do in case of an attack. Again, these criminals could be wanting to steal your belongings or just simply wanting to take your supplies. We have to understand that when a disaster strike people could run out of water, food, etc. Some people will go to extremes to get re-supplies. Be prepared to face a bad guy to protect your family.
I don’t want to go in a lot of details on evacuation procedures in this blog; however, I will in future posts. I do want to address a few points. First, evacuation is not as simple as you may think. During our last hurricane, thousands of people evacuated Florida. Mainly, I-95 HWY was pack, it took people hours upon hours to leave this state. Many gas stations had no gas and hotels were booked out all over Georgia, and even some other states up North. The crazy thing is that the storm changed the path and headed up toward the location that was previously cleared.
Additionally, by the time my job lets us go, there was no way to drive out of this state. We literally had to stay home and bunked it down. My point is to make sure you plan your evacuation route because it may not be as easy as we think.
We can talk about this all day long. There is so much to information to cover that it is impossible to include it all on a small blog like this one. The key here is recognized the threat and establish a plan around that threat. If you are facing tornados, your plan may be different than mine or someone facing earthquakes. Also, please make sure you know what services are available to you. Just as we prepare as a family, the state and country do as well. Therefore, there may be shelters around your city providing food, water, shelter and much more. Do not be afraid to use some of those services as it may save your life. We will continue to talk about this topic so please stay tuned for more. Thanks so much for reading this blog and God is in Control.
Hurricane Matthew & Irma Youtube playlists
Question of the Day: Are you Ready for a Disaster?
DISCLAIMER: I am NO EXPERT! This is just My OPINIONS!