Be prepared

(First of a series of articles on preparedness)

I teased Bob about his disaster preparedness plan when he posted about the Solar/Hand-Cranked Cell Charger, but I was only half joking.  The average disaster readiness score for Americans hit 4.1 out of 10 in 2007, up from 3.31 in 2006, but there’s still a long way to go.

“The majority of Americans remain unprepared. Only 4 percent have taken all of the preparedness actions recommended in the RQ and 23 percent have not taken a single action.”

USA Today too reports that “most Americans haven’t taken steps to prepare for a natural disaster, terrorist attack or other emergency.” And while hurricanes, flooding, and fires are certainly something to be ready for, such steps will also help in case of a structural failure like oil crisis, pandemic, social unrest, or climate change.

My wife and I keep a year’s worth of food on hand, as well as enough sleeping bags and such for a handful of refugees from urban areas.  But just a few steps will improve your odds for survival in an emergency.

Preparedness basics are simple:

  • Make a plan for how to respond in a disaster– where to meet, how to communicate, etc.
  • Have a 72-hour kit ready in case you need to evacuate.
  • Have basic emergency supplies in your home in case you need to stay home: water, food, first aid supplies, etc.
  • Know how to find out what’s going on.

Online resources are plentiful: from the basic recommendations for emergency preparedness (e.g. BeReadyUtah) to comprehensive guides to self-sufficiency (e.g. Survival & Self Reliance Studies Institute).

Bad things happen.  You can be as ready as you want to be.

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