Early last fall, as I drove to work I’d go past this FEMA sponsored billboard:
At that point I had already been thinking of getting my family more prepared. I had the motivation and the past interest. But I believe seeing this billboard each day was the true spark/guilt that got me started. Each time I saw it I would think: Our government is so screwed up and out of touch with peoples’ lives and I know this is just some feel good (at least they think they’re doing something) message – but it really struck a chord with me. If the government is saying be ready, maybe it is time to get ready.
Let’s talk about what FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the CDC (Center for Disease Control), or the Red Cross means when they talk about having a kit and being prepared. The reason they specify a three day (or 72-hour) kit is because in a disaster they believe it is likely you will have to survive that long until help, in the form of a government agency, arrives. (FEMA explains this basic concept well at: http://www.ready.gov.) CDC also mentions, “Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your food supplies for two weeks, consider maintaining a supply that will last that long.” But mainly they also stress having at least a basic kit. While I believe we should have a lot more food and water stored (and we’ll discuss this in the future at length) I do believe that this is a good starting point.
The biggest problem in a disaster isn’t the disaster itself, it’s surviving the aftermath. People who are unprepared: hungry, scared, and have no plan – tend to panic. When people don’t know where their next meal is coming from they can think of little else. But when you’re prepared, and your basic needs are cared for, you can focus on other tasks and help others around you. Imagine if everyone took the CDC’s advice: had a kit, stored two weeks of food, had some water, and had a basic plan about what they needed to do – how much smoother could things go?
No, I don’t believe the government will save us. Yes, I do believe we are responsible for our own preparedness and survival. But I believe if each person, as soon as possible, would ensure they they have a basic recommended 72-hour kit, then begin working toward two weeks of food in the house, and a basic disaster plan it’d be a great start and we’d be much better off.
In the future I’ll talk more about 72-hour kits. I’ll list and discuss what I put in mine and why.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t include CDC’s ‘other’ “Get a kit…” poster, because preparing for a zombie apocalypse is important too (and really not that much different than preparing for any other disaster…)