This week’s column begins a series of my Ten Foundational Principles of Disaster Preparedness. Call them core values, immutable truths or life rules, I am fully convinced everyone needs to develop their own personal “prepper philosophy” so there will be some direction and structure in your planning. Although my list is a work in progress, here it is and you are welcome to copy this as your own:
1. Prepare before the disaster happens. I am always mildly amused and somewhat bewildered by the ones who run to the store either at the last minute or after the fact. That’s a bit like having a fender bender then calling your insurance man to buy some coverage. In my observations of situations like Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, I see people who had plenty of advance warning still getting caught empty-handed. The chaos, frustration and desperation that characterizes the unprepared can all be avoided by simply planning ahead. Your family is worth it. A biblical proverb says, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes on blindly and suffers the consequences.” Plan ahead.
2. Avoid ready-made kits. There are literally thousands of ready-made kits available for purchase. Almost every disaster preparedness blog (except mine) has a kit for sale. I think some of them are pretty well thought out and actually very cool. However there is a certain satisfaction in building your own, choosing quality components and actually designing the kit for your specific needs in your specific neighborhood. The person that lives miles out in the hills will have different needs than the person who lives in the city. Some families have babies and their kit will require diapers and anti-rash ointment. Others will have “seasoned citizens” in the household and their needs are unique to their circumstance. Check out the ready-mades to get ideas on what you might need, but make your own list, then fill it to your satisfaction.
3. Have a plan “B” and a plan “C.” Every experienced battle commander knows his plan is perfect until the shooting starts. Most plans begin to unravel as they’re put to the test. This is a huge flaw I see in the National Geographic Channel’s “Doomsday Preppers.” Every featured group I have seen prepares for a specific disaster scenario. Just imagine how disappointed they’d be if they prepared for a nuclear attack and got hit with a coronal mass ejection (solar storm) instead. Now I am convinced if you live in hurricane country, then plan for a hurricane, but have two or more different evacuation routes. Prepare two or more retreat locations, just in case. If you live along the Oregon Coast, plan for an earthquake-tsunami episode, but always have a plan B. Your first escape route may be blocked with debris or a bridge may be impassable. Make alternate plans.
Next week we’ll continue with my Ten Basic Principles.
Dave Robinson is a retired Bandon postmaster and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers.