By Khushbu Malik

Do you have appropriate supplies available for use in the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or any other major emergency? Would you even know what to do yourself, or even how to prepare yourself for an emergency? First and foremost, it is all right having a disaster preparedness kit, but are you familiar with the contents and how to make use of those contents? Basically do you have basic first aid knowledge and know what not to do as much as what you actually need to do? In a panic, would you remember to pick up certain important documents such as your passport, or drivers licences, medication/copy of prescriptions, insurance documents and social security cards, various insurance documents and immunization cards. Copies of other important documents such as the title deeds to your property and other paperwork which confirms your identity in The System all need to be to hand somewhere you can reach them.

Firstly, in an emergency, water mains could be burst – there could be water everywhere so you need to ensure you disaster preparedness kit was kept in a waterproof or water-resistant container. You need to find a secure place to keep it, preferably not in the house, as you would not want your disaster preparedness kit damaged or destroyed before you had a chance to locate it. Perhaps you can’t think of anywhere appropriate outside the home to store your disaster preparedness kit. If so, go for the attic or, if you must, the basement. In any sort of disaster the social fabric of society tends to get eroded quite quickly – which means, pilfering is likely to become the norm. Don’t let other people know about your disaster preparedness kits otherwise your home is likely to get ransacked with people trying to find it.

Another problem is making sure you can get into it when you need to. I’m talking about keys – if you can lose suitcase keys as frequently as I can how much more are you likely to lose keys to your disaster preparedness kit? Use a good combination lock and set it to the same number as the date of birth of a member of your family so you, and other family members, are less likely to forget it. Things like birthdays are hard to forget and, emotionally, it would probably be a good idea to ensure you take photographs with you which could not be replaced plus other mementoes which makes life sweeter for the evocative memories they might evoke.

For physical survival, things like a knife and scissors plus other little gadgets are always a good idea. Spare blades and a knife sharpener are also useful. LED flashlights can be a good idea but many of the items that can be freely purchased in any camping/trekking shop would be ideal. Storm matches, firelighters, sleeping bags. Leather gloves and heavy duty needles are always a good idea, plus tarpaulins and some kind of waterproofed ground sheet. Changes of underwear and spare outdoor clothing, including heavy duty boots are always a good idea in case you have to leave home in a hurry before having time to dress properly. You will never be fully prepared, but at least saving some of your more personal belongings helps you retain an identity when all else has been lost.

Food for Thought: Most of the time we are so engrossed in our daily routine that we hardly get time to think about unusual events, emergencies and disasters. They may come in any form, sometimes they are easily predictable while most of the times they are highly unpredictable. As generally seen, hurricanes and floods are some common natural disasters which give us advance notice or warnings, but other natural disasters and calamities give us no such warning sign like earthquakes and tornadoes. Some common occurrences like fires and attacks etc. can occur anytime, anywhere, so in such situations we may have to face several emergencies and challenges. These emergencies and challenges can overwhelmed not just you and your family but your clients, your business, your distant friends and even business partners residing in the affected areas. As a little gesture to the mankind, I have written several articles on this topic. Here you can learn about useful tips and techniques about disaster management and emergency preparedness.

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