How Important is it to Prepare?

With family in Colorado dealing with the fires, and our own area’s recent experience with widespread power outages after a “land hurricane”, disaster preparedness has been on my mind lately.

Isn’t it crazy that we don’t think to plan for something until it actually happens? Then we get some things together for the next time, only for a decade to go by before it repeats itself. By that time batteries are dead, water is stale and evaporated, and extra dog food has turned to powder.

Preparing can be expensive too; something most of us have difficulty budgeting for should a disaster occur. Yet, little by little we CAN get together some essentials. Purchased over time, these items may be less of a punch to our weekly budget for food and other essentials. If you dislike gathering things together for a price, disaster preparedness kits can be purchased at stores or online.

What to Put in a “Kit”

You can find numerous resources online with information about what to put in a disaster preparedness kit. You may have to prepare with numerous people in mind, or even numerous pets. According to the experts it is best to have a kit on hand that can be picked up and taken with you in the event of an emergency – fire, hurricane, or flooding… things that can be predicted to some degree as the result of early warning systems in the area.

With power outages, however, you may need a bigger “kit” for numerous days. Power outages can be planned as the result of city construction or tree removal. Most of the time though? Power outages are an unpleasant surprise. Causes can range from results of mother nature at work, or a hubby at work with a shovel and a poor attention span.

72Hours.org has some terrific ideas in what to put in a disaster kit. You can access the site HERE. FEMA and Ready.Gov has some additional plans and ideas at their site. These include how to let friends and loved ones know where you are and how you are doing. You can access these plans HERE. The ASPCA has some wonderful ideas and plans for those of us who may have service animals and other family pets. You can access that information HERE.  The Red Cross has some additional ideas for pet owners HERE.

The key is to BE PREPARED. When my family and I experienced 36 hours of no power in 95 degree heat, it isn’t something we decided to do for FUN. It was an unexpected and unpleasant surprise. We had plenty of water and gas in our cars, but could not even leave the house at night in sweltering heat because of numerous pets that needed attention, supervision, and assurance. We holed up in the basement and did our best to keep everyone calm and as cool as possible. Because I shop at Costco, when I buy batteries, I buy A LOT. But I wasn’t keeping close tabs on what sizes we had, and our flashlights and lanterns were scattered all over the place. (The power outage began late at night after the sun had gone down). I discovered after doing a little investigating after the power returned, that generators are expensive. They can also be dangerous to operate if you do not know what you are doing. Yet after our experience, I started a “generator piggy bank”. It may take us YEARS to have enough to actually buy one, but imagine being able to run some fans and keep the refrigerator running during a long-term power outage?

I welcome additional ideas our websites that may help folks prepare.

Disabilities or Health Issues?

As a person with disabilities I was prepared BY ACCIDENT. I purchase cochlear implant batteries in bulk once or twice a year. Thankfully, my cochlear implant is NOT the type that uses rechargeable batteries or I may have been deaf as well as sweaty! I noticed that because of the excessive heat, my balance was worse than usual. I was unprepared for a SUNNY day to be staggering around as if it were a rainy, overcast day. My husband who only has one kidney, was especially fatigued and weak because of the heat. I had friends that were unable to power their scooters that they use for mobility purposes, but their manual wheelchairs were in storage! These kinds of things can make a difficult situation much worse.

If you have special needs of ANY kind, be sure to take these into consideration when you do your planning. Because we are all aware of how important that planning is, right? (GRIN)

Denise Portis

© 2012 Personal Hearing Loss Journal

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