Personal disaster preparedness is becoming less of a fringe group behavior and moving more into the mainstream when it comes to preparing for our future. After years of teaching self-defense, I have found one of the biggest hurdles people have to overcome is the belief that it won’t happen to them.
People in general think that bad things always happen to someone else and the likelihood that something terrible might happen to them is almost impossible. It’s that kind of thinking that keeps many students from taking their self-defense training seriously. That is also the kind of mind set that keeps people from preparing for disaster.
When you are preparing for any disaster, make sure you prepare for ones that are likely to happen in your location. If you live on the West Coast it doesn’t make much sense to prepare for tornados. It does make sense however, to prepare for earthquakes and wildfires. Find out what kind of disasters are likely in your area and prepare for those.
When it comes to preparedness for personal disaster it is a common misconception that you have to have a lot of money to get yourself ready for any kind of disaster. The reality is, there are a lot of things you can be doing that don’t cost anything at all. Try hitting garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores for any variety of items to add to your preps, including: pressure canners, canning jars, camping equipment, medical supplies, tools, gardening equipment and other stuff.
One of the most important things you can do is to make sure your family does not remain separated during an emergency. You never know when disaster may strike and if it does your family may not be at home in bed. The kids could be off to their schools and you and your spouse could be at separate jobs. One of the worst feelings during a disaster is to not know where your loved ones are and to not have a plan to meet together.
Personal disaster preparedness is all about planning. You should have at least two meeting places, one in your neighborhood and one out of town if it’s no longer safe to stay in your own town. Have these spots preplanned to the point where everyone knows how to get to those places from where they will likely be when disaster strikes.
As far as meeting places go, a school may not be a bad place to meet. Some schools even have emergency food and water supplies just in case there is a disaster and parents cannot come and pick up their children. Where ever you decide that your family should meet up during a disaster make sure it’s clearly marked.
You might want to pick a place with a flag pole. You never know just how your kids are going to get to your meeting place. They may not know the roads that lead to it but they may be able to see a flag pole. You should also have a friend or relative out of state that can be your point of contact.
It’s not just you that has to be ready. Preparedness for personal disaster is also about your children doing their part. Make sure everyone in your family knows the contact number as well as how to dial 911. Small children may have a tough time remembering Aunt Jane’s cell phone number but if you put it on a sheet of paper along with other important numbers in his/her backpack they will have it with them much of the time.
Make sure they memorize 911 and coach them on what to say. If your child calls from a landline the 911 system will be able to track them. If he/she is calling from a cell phone it’s very unlikely that EMS will be able to pinpoint their position. You’ll have to at least teach them the name of where they live and the street name.
If you don’t have a lot of money to start stockpiling supplies that doesn’t mean you can’t help your family get prepared for a time of crisis. Personal disaster preparedness is also about educating yourself and your family. You may have all the supplies in the world but if you’re not mentally prepared you may end up stuck like a deer in the headlights. So good luck and get prepared.
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