How prepared are you?
This week, thousands of people are engaged in Cascadia Rising, which is an exercise to test our government’s ability to respond to a catastrophic earthquake event. I work for the National Guard, so I have the privilege of having a look from the inside. It is pretty awesome to see how much capacity our nation has to aid communities in the recovery process. Thousands of state, federal and military agencies and community responders are poised to bring help as soon as they can get there. But it all depends on one thing . . . you.
While these agencies can go just about anywhere within 48 hours, wrecked bridges, ports, and roads will hamper more timely arrival of needed aid. It some places, especially near the coast, you probably should not expect aid for several days. So, if you are depending on someone to provide food, shelter or medical aid right away – you might want to adjust your expectations.
So what Should You Do?
Like the Boy Scout motto says – “Be Prepared!”
- Have at least 48-72 hours of food and water on the shelf, in a part of your house or property that will likely withstand severe shaking, or be accessible after a collapse (i.e., not in the basement).
- Have tarps, duct tape, blankets and such to keep warm. Have a source of light, as electricity will likely be out for some time. Finally, get a crank rechargeable radio to get news and updates.
- Have a family communications plan. Communications will be sparse or completely out. If you can’t contact each other, try to call an out-of-region relative or friend. Make sure prior to any emergency that they are aware of what you want from them. That person then can help account for everyone who calls in. When your family members call in, they should say how they are doing, report their location and indicate if they need anything. Finally, practice the communications plan at least once every year.
Emergency managers expect that people will spend the first 48 hours trying to find and gather their families. However, in a catastrophe, you may have to settle with the knowledge that your family member is safe, even though they are not in direct contact with you.
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