Emergency Disaster Planning:
Building a Reserve
One thing that Hurricane Katrina taught us is that
it is not enough to plan for the immediate disaster
– survivors must also have enough reserves of whatever
they need to get them through until the situation normalizes,
or until they can be rescued and moved to a stable situation.
Even if you are not in a hurricane zone, having reserves
of necessary items is a good idea. There is no part
of the world that is immune from disaster, be it hurricane,
earthquake, tornado, flood, ice and snowstorms, volcanoes
or even man-made problems. Although being able to survive
and come out of such disasters intact is sometimes a
matter of luck, being prepared to outlast the immediate
danger can make the difference between coming out alive
or not coming out at all.
Here are some steps you can take ahead of time to prepare
you and your family to ride out long-term effects of
whatever life throws your way:
- Always maintain a reserve of non-perishable food,
toiletries, medications and other necessities. Buying
in bulk on a regular basis is the easiest way to do
this – not only does it provide a cushion during a
crisis, but it also keeps you from running out in
the normal course of things and is usually a money-saver,
to boot. And don't forget your transportation! Here's
a trick that I've found works well – use the half-tank
tick on your gas gauge as a psychological "empty."
Never let it get below that level – it doesn't cost
any more than filling it up the normal way, and you
never have to face a trip around town (or a sudden
disaster) wondering if you have enough gas to make
- Set up a "bug-out" kit (see
this article for details) ready-packed
with important papers and emergency
food/supplies for quick and easy
survival support in an emergency
- Set up a liquid savings account or fund just for
emergencies, preferably in a bank with many national
branches, or online with a financial service like
PayPal, in case your local branch goes down for the
count. Keep your account information handy, either
somewhere physically convenient or in an online storage
system such as a web-based email account where you
can easily access it from anywhere. Keep enough money
in this account to get you through at least a few
weeks of no-income emergency living, including food,
shelter and medications.
- If possible, keep $20-50 in cash in a safe, but
easily reachable, place for immediate use in the case
of an emergency – I recommend keeping it in your bug-out
kit with the rest of your emergency supplies.
- Learn to maintain a physical and emotional reserve,
as well. Regular meditation, good health practices,
and well-honed anger/frustration management skills
will make your life infinitely easier in normal times
and allow you to cope more effectively when your life
is turned upside down.
Disasters like Hurricane Katrina are heart-wrenching
and frightening, even to those not directly affected.
It's sometimes hard to see how anyone can survive such
a violent uprooting. However, maintaining a stable reserve
of necessary items and attitudes can keep you prepared
to survive and overcome anything that man or nature
throws in your direction.
About the author
Soni Pitts is a professional freelance writer who provides
copywriting, editing and related services in addition
to her regular freelance work. She also covers the Networking
beat as an associate writer for Wordbrains.
Need copy? Email Soni at firstname.lastname@example.org
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