Disasters don't wait. Make your plan. Make your 'go' kit. Talk about what you will do 'if' the excrement hits the fan. Being prepared is the best first step to not being completely destroyed by the unforeseen or unthinkable. We can't mitigate all risk, but we can certainly reduce risk and resulting harms.
As a former FEMA-trained critical incident PIO/spokesperson and Incident Commander, I'm used to thinking about the 'what if' scenario. Recent events have brought that into even sharper focus: the nearby wildfires that have made our air in Reno, Nevada dangerously un-breathable, Hurricane Ida in Louisiana ... and the resulting catastrophic flooding that devastated communities in the northeastern United States. Intense heat compounded the misery and death in the days after Hurricane Ida devastated coastal Louisiana. Researchers refer to this as a 'compound disaster' ... where one disaster morphs into another.
Did you know that nearly 1 in 3 Americans experienced a weather-related disaster this summer? As the Washington Post points out "Climate change has turbocharged severe storms, fires, hurricanes, coastal storms and floods — threatening millions." Climate change has 'loaded' the dice in favor of disasters. “What we are doing with global warming is making ourselves play a game that is rigged more and more against us because of our own actions,” said earth scientist Claudia Tebaldi, a researcher at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and a lead author of the IPCC’s latest climate report.
As nearly 22,000 residents of the nearby community of South Lake Tahoe, California evacuated to shelters to escape the Caldor fire, I wondered how many would have homes to return to. I wondered if they'd managed to grab the important documents on the way out the door. There hasn't been hardly a night that goes by that we don't hear on the news about folks having lost entire homes and all the precious mementos that made their lives warm and precious.
Preparedness can't stop hurricanes or other natural disasters. But, with it we can certainly reduce the scope of the tragedy on an individual basis.
Recently, I've seen several great articles on the topic of emergency preparedness that I'd like to share with you.
The New York Times, Well section, 'Is Your Go-Bag Ready?'
UNR Cooperative Extension, Living With Wildfire, 'Prepare for Wildfire - Pack a To-Go Bag' Be sure to check out all the other preparedness tips and guides on this great website.
The Washington Post, Wellness section, 'Why your belongings hold so much meaning, and how to decide what to grab in an emergency'
Wirecutter/The New York Times, 'The Best Emergency Preparedness Supplies'
The Washington Post, 'How to keep your phone charged and useful in a natural disaster'
And, another Wirecutter article on the best outage tools and supplies. Especially interesting to check out is the Portable Power Station. Not a generator, but a big battery that can be used indoors. https://ring.com/share/94412313-b2a7-45c0-a07c-fbb4f31fab51
I hope that you'll browse through my other posts about emergency preparedness:
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Because climate change is such a pervasive and inescapable part of any discussion about preparedness for natural disasters like fires, floods, heat and hurricanes, you might like to know more about it - and in particular, the most common 'climate denier' myths and the evidence-based answers to those myths.
The Washington Post, 'How we know that global warming is real'
Yale Climate Connections, 'Causes of global warming: How scientists know that humans are responsible'
Skeptical Science, 'Global Warming & Climate Change Myths'
State Impact/NPR, 'Five climate change science misconceptions, debunked'