East Tennessee Chapter
Are You Prepared?
"Private-sector preparedness is not a luxury; it is a cost of doing business in the post-9/11 world. It is ignored at a tremendous potential cost in lives, money and national security."
-- The 9/11 Commission Report
Many people are concerned about the possibility of a public health emergency such as a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or disease outbreak. You can take steps now to help you prepare for an emergency and cope if and when it happens. Some disasters give warning like a storm preceding a flood. Others, like earthquakes give no warning. Once a disaster happens, the time to prepare is gone and all you can do is cope. Power may be lost and cell phones may not work. Do you have an alternate plan to connect with family and friends? There are actions that should be taken before, during and after an event that are unique to each hazard. Identify the hazards that have happened or could happen in your area and plan for the unique actions for each. Anything you do today to will be like making a deposit in your survivability savings account for withdrawal in tough times.
Core Preparedness can help. We have over 20 years of experience in being prepared. If you have been preparing for a while, or even if you have just started, our experts can critique your current plan or help you plan your next projects. Reviewing the information below is a great way to start a conversation with your family and friends. Just like a good Boy Scout, you and your family should always be prepared.
Most families have approximately 3 days of food in their homes. This is not enough food in any event. You need a goal that makes sense and is achievable, but at the same time will allow you to have sufficient food should an emergency occur. Begin now to gather a two-week to a two-month supply of things you eat now and eventually work up to a several month supply that you feel comfortable with.
Consider the kinds of foods you want to have on hand, keep in mind the parameters you will be dealing with - probably no power, no light, perhaps no running water. Most likely the stove that you are used to cooking on may be out of commission. The idea to keep in mind is that you may want to warm the foods you have on hand, because cooking meals may be close to impossible. In fact for a while, meals and menus may be non-existent. An exception would be something such as pancake mix that would require minimal fuel for cooking. Maintaining a nutritional balance in the foods you have is a better goal for the foods portion of your disaster preparedness plan.
We are spoiled in our society. We take clear, clean water for granted. It is expected that when one turns on a faucet water will flow. However, we don't realize how easy it is to lose that water, nor how quickly that loss can take place. The 400,000 residents of Toledo, Ohio found out how quickly that can happen when they were told not to boil, drink, or bath in their tap water in August of 2014.
Some water needs to be in your preparedness plan. An active person needs a minimum of two quarts of water per day. That would be considered the very least amount. It is recommended that you have on hand at least the survival amount of water for three days at all times and if possible a two week supply. To calculate what that survival amount is, multiply the gallons of water by the number of household members. Following are a few individual needs for water that could require you to have more than the bare minimum on hand:
- Is there a baby in the home?
- Are there active teenagers in your household?
- Is anyone chronically ill with the need for more water to take medications?
- How many pets are there?
- Is the extreme summer heat a factor?
- Do you carry a bottle of water with you everywhere you go?
There may be situations, depending on your circumstances and the nature of the disaster, when it's simply best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside by "sheltering in place". The length of time you are required to shelter may be short, such as during a tornado warning, or long, such as during riots or a pandemic. Additionally, you should take turns listening to radio broadcasts and maintain a 24-hour safety watch.
During extended periods of sheltering, you will need to manage water and food supplies to ensure you and your family have the required supplies and quantities. Draw a floor plan of your home. Use a blank sheet of paper for each floor. Mark two escape routes from each room. Make sure children understand the drawings. If your home is taller than ground level, plan to use an escape ladder from upper floors. Make sure everyone in your household is familiar with these products and is comfortable using them.
It is wise to avoid any armed confrontation if possible. You are not a coward if you avoid the possibility of being shot or having to shoot someone else. You are not expendable - neither are the lives of your family or friends. Those with the attitude of just taking what they want will not last very long after a prolonged disaster. With that being said, your preparedness plan should contain elements of defense. Handguns and rifles are a good place to start. Think about what types of people you will meet if you decide to bugout. Will you definitely meet people that are completely unprepared, but you will also meet gangs or other organized threats attempting to block your exit and acquire your resources.
You need to be able to see a potential threat at the earliest opportunity, if you can see the threat early, and hopefully before that threat see's you, then you can make the correct decisions to either make contact, hide, or prepare to defend your area with force.