Preparing for a Disaster
I live in a lowlying coastal area, on an island, and I am well aware of the sensitivity and fragility of my environment. Any kind of disaster like a typhoon, tsunami, volcano, monsoon, or earthquake would be devastating to my region, and I'm sure you feel the same way.
The best way to feel safe and secure is to prepare, as well as you can, for a disaster. http://www.ready.gov/ has a good checklist on what you'll need in the aftermath of an emergency.
Water, food, and shelter are your primary concerns, and I encourage you to start building a "kit" of materials that you can have on hand for any potential emergency. We put our materials in a big waterproof rubber container, kind of like a giant Tupperware, that we stash under the house.
You can swap out food on a regular basis, such as canned meats and canned fish, canned veggies, and camp supplies like powdered or condensed milk, oatmeal, flour, and cornmeal. Remember a can opener, utility knife, and utensils.
A water purification kit is a great investment: we use both tablets and a filter pump.
Those with babies & pets or special needs have to also consider any specific items such as diapers, medications, or eyeglasses.
We have a big waterproof bag to hold items like clothing (including underwear) for all the family members.
Also remember to have batteries, a flashlight set and lantern, matches & candles, and a whistle for each member of the family. You can find first aid kits pre-made at the grocery store. We also have sleeping bags & a 4-person tent.
In the event of an emergency, the main thing to remember is to keep calm.
In terms of self-sufficiency, I also encourage you to begin a garden, to learn how to hunt & fish, and to start up a collection of camp-style materials such as a good tent Dutch oven or outdoor stove, canvas tarps, heavy-duty flashlight
I encourage you to start working with your neighbors and close relatives to come up with an evacuation plan and meeting area away from your location, should people become separated. Train your children on what to do in case of an emergency. Do your best to focus on building community with those around you: if there is a problem, it will remain the responsibility of all of us working together & sharing, instead of relying on emergency responders.
Photo by seattlemunicipalarchives