Lesson

When disaster strikes

Disasters are highly unpredictable and disruptive events that cause suffering, deprivation, injury and death, as a result of direct injury, disease, the interruption of commerce and business, and the partial or total destruction of critical infrastructure such as homes, hospitals, roads, bridges, power lines, etc.

Disasters can be caused by naturally occurring events, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, or tornados, or they can be the results of man-made events; either accidental (such as an accidental toxic waste spill or nuclear power plant meltdown), or deliberate (such as various terrorist bombings, shootings, poisonings or riots and anarchy).

Certain types of natural disasters are more likely to occur in particular parts of the world. For instance, areas near coastlines, lakes or rivers are more likely to experience flooding problems than landlocked areas.

However, almost every place you could live is prone to one type of natural disaster or another. No place is absolutely safe from natural disasters. And, of course it goes without saying, that no place is safe from the threats posed by terrorism and other man-made disasters.

It may be impossible to avoid disasters, but it is possible to plan ahead and prepare to minimize the impact that any given disaster might have on you or your family’s health, safety and property.

When disasters strike, people can lose everything. Power can go down, mass communications devices can be rendered useless, banks can be shut down and credit cards become worthless. Local supermarket shelves will soon run empty, water supplies may become tainted, and entire communities may fall apart, overnight. Only those who are prepared for every major disaster scenario can make the decisions that will keep us and our loved ones safe. Only proper planning and preparation will allow you to remain organized and effective both physically and mentally, during a disaster.

Disaster preparation is not a linear process. Buying supplies at your local store does not make you prepared. You will need to research the types of disasters that are most likely to occur in your area. You will need to determine which physical items you need to have ready and packed in case you must evacuate. Scouting your immediate area ahead of time will help you evacuate quickly and avoid “choke” points, while other less prepared people are frantically trying to do the same and are willing to do anything to evacuate.

You will need to know how to protect yourself from harm and how to nourish yourself if there are no supermarkets around. Finally, you will need to know how to move both, quickly and inconspicuously. Disaster scenarios can create hectic situations and bring out the worst in people. The faster you move and the less noticeable you are, the safer you will be, at all times.

Course Discussion