Why Disaster Preparedness is so Important to Your Family


We’ve all heard and used the saying, “feces occurs,” although most people say it a wee bit differently. Nevertheless, no matter how you pronounce it, the idea comes through. Life is full of unexpected problems, some serious and some not quite so bad.

Breaking a shoelace is a problem, but not a big one. Wrecking your new car is a fair amount bigger problem. But even then, compared to some things that might happen, wrecking the car can almost seem like a blessing. That’s why we’re all required to buy car insurance and why people also insure their homes, their lives and their health. Insurance helps us out when that brown stuff occurs.

Even so, there are some things that insurance just can’t fix. No matter how much flood insurance you own, it can’t replace the family photo albums or other priceless (to you) family heirlooms. Those things are just plain irreplaceable. So we go on without them, saddened by our loss.

While we can’t replace the photos of the kids growing up, at least we have the kids. But what if we didn’t? What if the disaster that struck was severe enough that we didn’t all survive? Who would we choose to lose? Would it be better to sacrifice our own lives, in order to save theirs; or would that merely be a guarantee that theirs would be forfeit as well?

Statistically, the average person has a major disaster strike their life every seven to eight years. Many of those are personal disasters, such as the loss of a job, foreclosure on their home, someone in the family sustaining a serious injury, or even the loss of a loved one. But not all disasters are so personal. Some hit whole towns, states or even countries. Any of these disasters can destroy lives, uproot our families and cause immeasurable pain. But the ones which hit the hardest are those which destroy thousand or even millions of families lives.

Just look at Venezuela. A few short years ago they were the most prosperous democracy in South America. But today they are essentially a communist dictatorship. People are starving and the store shelves are empty. Shortages of literally everything are common. Could that happen to us? Yes it could, no matter how much we would like to think otherwise. There are enough people in this country who want to vote in “democratic socialism,” that we are no more than one election away from becoming Venezuela, only 11 times larger (in population).

Today, 12 years after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, there are still people whose lives are irreversibly changed by that disaster. New Orleans is still not the same. Some have moved to other areas and tried to build new lives. While everyone has gone on and much of the city has been rebuilt, there are still whole blocks in residential areas, where only one house stands. What happened to the rest of the residents there?

A total of 1,836 people lost their lives in Hurricane Katrina; many because of not obeying government orders to evacuate New Orleans. Their desire to stay home is understandable, but they did so without being prepared to face the fury of a category 5 hurricane. Had those people been properly prepared, they probably could have survived.

But this number pales in comparison to the number of people who could potentially die from a true nationwide disaster. Computer models projected the possibility of tens of thousands of people dying here in the United States from the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak. Fortunately, that never happened and even the number of deaths in Africa was lower than expected. But the risk was there. Had a major outbreak occurred here in the US, our only true defense would have been to isolate ourselves. But how do you do that if you don’t have enough food to last you a couple of months?

Even this number is small, when you look at the report of the EMP Commission, which predicts that as much as 90 percent of our population would die, if an enemy were to use a high-altitude EMP against the United States. That’s a potential 207.9 million people gone, mostly from starvation!

Is that likely to happen? Who knows? Both North Korea and Iran have threatened to attack us with nuclear weapons and both are hard at word developing that capability. But there’s a more important question we must ask ourselves; that is… can we afford to ignore that risk?

If we knew that we could drive our cars for our whole lives, without a car accident or traffic ticket, why buy insurance? But statistics show that we can’t. So most of us obey the law and have the necessary insurance to protect ourselves; just in case. Preparing for a disaster is no different. We should prepare because statistically we are going to face a disaster sometime in our life and we want to protect our family from that occurrence.

The idea of disaster preparedness really isn’t a new one, although the modern prepping movement is. All throughout history mankind has prepared for disasters. It’s only recently that we have abandoned that idea.

Preserving food originates from the need to prepare. In northern climates it’s impossible to grow or gather food in the cold of winter. Animals go into their burrows, making hunting extremely difficult. Were it not for the ability to preserve food, mankind would have either died out millennia ago or been forced to migrate to warmer climates where they could pick fruit off the trees all year long.

Isn’t that preparing for a natural disaster? Stockpiling food for a “rainy day” or a cold winter is the first step that most preppers take. Why? Because we all recognize the universal need for food and if we forget, our bellies remind us quickly enough.

Our families are depending on us. We can’t just count on the government to bail us out. FEMA, the government agency designated to deal with disasters, has a horrible track record. During Hurricane Sandy they didn’t even issue requests for bid until a couple of days after the hurricane hit the New Jersey seashore; and that was with knowing of the potential disaster days in advance.

If FEMA does that poor a job with a regional disaster, how can we expect them to do better with a nationwide one? We can’t; and we shouldn’t. Rather, we should be prepared ourselves, so that we don’t have to depend on them. That way, while everyone is being herded into a FEMA refugee camp (otherwise known as a FEMA relocation center) we can be comfortable and fed in our homes.

Featured Image by BasicGov, CC

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