Do you know what is a disaster preparedness list of supplies? Before we begin our discussion of this topic, let’s first define what we mean by the word “disaster.” Note: we will be using “disaster,” “emergency,” and other synonyms as equivalent terms throughout all of our blog posts.
A disaster is any event in which immediate need exceeds immediate resources. More simply, an incident occurs where everyone knows what needs to be done, but the scale of the incident outweighs the money, people, resources, or time available to deal with it.
What is a disaster?
(Fun Fact: the word “disaster” comes from a 16th-century Italian term that meant an event which occurred because of the unfavorable position of a star – astrology, basically.)
Emergencies and disasters can happen on many different scales, from the personal all the way up to worldwide.
Examples of a personal emergency include things such as falling and breaking your leg, or your car being totaled.
Global disasters would include events such as pandemics and runaway climate change. Obviously, these are not the only examples.
Basically, the scale of a disaster is measured by how many people it affects. Refer back to the definition above; it is that last part that is crucial to our discussion.
A car being totaled may not qualify as a disaster to someone with another vehicle, or enough money on hand to repair or replace it immediately, but it would be a disaster to someone without those resources.
Other examples on our scale may include:
Now that we have a good idea of the different scales on which a given disaster can be classified, let’s take a look at the different impacts they can have.
The Most Important Two Impacts of a Disaster
The first impact that always comes to mind when people discuss a disaster is physical, in which property is destroyed and people are hurt or killed.
Calculating the property damage in a dollar value or counting the number of people that lost their lives is the easiest way to measure the consequences of a disaster.
The vast majority of disaster relief efforts, whether organized by governmental agencies, non-profit charities, or drives by communities and individuals, focus on the physical needs of the people affected by the disaster.
This is when you will see stories of groups rushing shipments of food, water, blankets, blood, clothing, generators, or whatever else may be needed to the affected areas.
The second—and often overlooked—impact of a disaster is emotional.
This encompasses the fear and anger, frustration and hopelessness that is felt by those people that were affected by the event, and are trying to deal with its aftermath.
This is where the value of good planning really pays off. If you have developed an emergency plan and created a disaster supply kit, you can lessen the emotional impact if and when a disaster occurs.
If you’re prepared, you won’t be as scared, and the first part of being prepared is to have an idea of the types of disasters you may have to face.
What’s Your Risk?
Every part of the country experiences different disasters: hurricanes along the coasts, earthquakes, and wildfires out west, tornadoes in the central plains.While the previous list is discussing the United States specifically, every country has its own list.
Once you know what kinds of emergencies you are likely to face, and on which scale, you can begin to assemble the proper supplies and develop an accurate emergency plan. Remember, the goal is to be able to provide for you and your family first.
We’ll see why that’s important in the next section.
Rings of Resources: How do you prepare your home for a hurricane
“All disasters are local.” You may run into this phrase during your research. What this phrase means is that the first 72 hours (three days) of any disaster response is almost entirely made up of local resources (first ring).
It usually takes that long for State and/or Federal relief agencies to organize and arrive on site (second ring), followed by non-profit agencies (third ring), and then by private groups and individuals (fourth ring).
This is why most disaster kit checklists recommend having three days’ worth of supplies as a minimum. Of course, you may choose to include more than that.
Most municipal areas have spaces available that can be converted into disaster relief areas. These spaces can include schools, civic centers, administrative buildings, and the like.
They may be used as shelters, distribution stations for supplies, or as official channels for important information. However, most cities do not set aside emergency supplies for their residents, so city-organized shelters usually leave food, water, and medical distribution to organizations within the second through fourth rings.
If you have your own supplies, you will not have to wait on any organized distribution efforts, and the provisions that are brought in by outside agencies will go further in your community. If you have made a plan, it allows you to act more decisively in a disaster, without delay.
It lessens the panic, confusion, and worry you would otherwise experience. When you know that your family is as safe as you can make them, with the food, water, medicines, and other supplies they need, it frees you up to focus on getting information and assistance or helping with recovery efforts.
Last but not least: be flexible! Remember, while it’s always helpful to plan for the more likely kinds of disasters for your area, the majority of the time, your response is going to be the same, regardless of what you are facing (and surprises can occur at any time).
You want to make sure that your basic needs are met while preserving the routine of your life as much as possible.
This involves assembling a set of skills and supplies that you can use in many different situations (we will discuss equipment redundancy in a future post).
Emergency situations are fluid, and your needs and resources will change throughout the experience. Adopt, adapt, and improve. Be creative!
ResourcesFamily Communication Plan for Parents and Kids-Ready Kids
but remember in time of disasters you may not have access to your internet connection and your cell phone so best is to also print a copy of your plans for your family
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