Make a Disaster Preparedness Plan

Disaster can strike at any given moment. It doesn’t matter whether you are in the confines of your home, or on vacation in the most peaceful paradise you can find; the threat of Mother Nature’s wrath is very real, and people often have to face the full force of earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and typhoons, wildfires, avalanches, and any number of dangers. Even in places safe from most of these threats, people have to face equally dangerous scenarios such as transportation accidents, armed conflict, and terrorist attacks.

Thankfully, humankind is gifted with an ability called foresight; this is the ability to think ahead of the present, and anticipate future events. In the case of emergency scenarios, this means mankind has the ability to plan and minimize the dangers posed by disasters.

A good disaster preparedness plan is tailor-made to suit the situation, and/or the place where it is needed. For example, people deal with fires differently based on whether it is on a vehicle, at home, or in the wilderness. People also have different methods of dealing with a fire emergency and an earthquake emergency (though similarities arise between the two). However, all disaster plans have one thing in common: they allow survivors to get out alive.

The first part of any disaster preparedness plan familiarizes the individual with all escape routes. Almost every household, transport hub, hotel, and restaurant is designed to take into consideration that there are at least two ways to leave any room in the event of an emergency. By keeping an eye out for these escape routes, the odds of becoming trapped in a room are minimized, no matter what the danger. Knowing escape routes doesn’t just mean the building too. It is imperative to know where to go once outside for emergency services such as medicine in case of physical injury, shelter in case of continuous danger, or fire-supported “green zones” in the event of armed conflict.

It is also imperative to follow safety procedures during evacuation. Fire demands keeping low to avoid toxic smoke. Earthquakes require individuals to keep under the most solid structures such as tables and desks. Most facilities have safety manuals distributed, so it is advisable to try and find one upon entering in case an emergency occurs. Good contingency plans clearly disseminate information about likely scenarios and the proper course of action during these events.

Most disaster preparedness plans also require that those involved run drills on how to deal with emergency scenarios. For example, schools and other academic institutions hold fire and earthquake drills every semester to make sure that the system still works, and that the personnel and students are informed and ready should disaster strike.

Another problem that a disaster contingency plan must address is communication; this means calling for help, sending out messages about what happened, and receiving instruction on how to deal with the crisis. Emergency lines are readily available in most public and private buildings, and even a cell phone can be used to contact appropriate authorities to avert the danger.

Finally, when it comes to disaster preparedness, regular maintenance of the system is required to keep as many people safe as possible. Any structure that looks as though it wouldn’t hold up to an emergency – stairs, elevators, doorways, walls – must be repaired as soon as damage is found. Even individuals not involved with the maintenance of the building can help by reporting any flaws they notice.

Keeping people safe is no joke. Survival is a serious business that demands vigilance and effort. By coming up with working disaster preparedness plans, the job is made easier and more effective, allowing individuals to break odds and stay alive in the face of danger.

How to Prepare for an Emergency During Vacation

Everyone needs a break every now and then from the stress of everyday life; thus people have vacations. However, there is a real problem with vacations: disasters.

Whether you’re up in the Alps on a ski trip, or in the tropics of the Philippines, there is a realistic danger of unexpected disasters from striking at any moment. In the former example, avalanches take dozens of lives every year. In the latter, tropical storms and earthquakes can destroy millions of dollars worth of property, and cost far greater in terms of human life. That’s not all as well; every year, people get lost in the deserts of Africa, fall off cliffs while rock climbing in Kentucky, and so on and so forth. Travel guides and tourism agencies try to minimize such damages by telling tourists to prepare for the worst. The question therefore, becomes: how exactly do you accomplish this?

The first step to becoming prepared for emergencies is to become familiar with the risks in the area. Many different emergency scenarios require different approaches, and depending on where you intend to spend your vacation, the risk of which emergencies you face will vary. Mountainous regions are prone to avalanches and landslides. Areas close to fault lines are prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity. There are also less natural emergencies such as car or airplane crashes.

Once familiar with what emergencies you might face during your vacation, the next step is to create a contingency plan based on the risks. For instance, it is wise to think of a rendezvous point in the event of a disaster, or become familiar of emergency services in the area. Warning systems must also be considered in the plan.

The next step is to secure an emergency pack. A well-prepared pack might include non-perishable food rations, water, clothing, a flashlight with spare batteries, at least two means of contacting outside help, a basic first-aid kit, and a sleeping bag. All these can easily fit into an average backpack, and some survivors will even find space to pack a lockbox to contain important documents or items. Situational items must also be taken into consideration; spelunkers will include climbing gear in their packs, and canoeists will most likely have a spare safety vest. Some areas may demand a sidearm to protect against looters, bandits, or other similar threats.

It is advisable that your emergency pack is separate from the rest of your luggage, but always in a place where you can easily get to it. This is especially important in the event of disasters that do not allow sufficient time to make it to a car or hotel before damage is dealt.

Once the plan and pack are prepared, it is a good idea to practice the emergency protocol before going on the trip. The more familiar a person is with his/her emergency plan, the greater the odds of survival.

Finally, the best way to protect against disaster is to avoid it entirely. This means not traveling to a tropical island when you know very well that it’s typhoon season, or not travelling to open plains during tornado season. Paying attention to high-risk areas also minimizes the chances of injury; such is the case when cross-country skiing, or trekking through rough terrain. While you may be well-prepared to survive should things go wrong, the odds are you would rather not have to use that emergency pack. Play safe to avoid disaster; but give yourself enough length on your leash to enjoy your vacation.