Monday, March 14, 2011

Perspective on Disaster Preparedness

I lied. I said I wasn't going to write about the tsunami, but I am. At least, in a roundabout way.

The internet is all abuzz about the earthquakes and tsunami and volcanic eruptions and leaking radiation and nuclear explosions and the myriad other ways that hellfire is being rained down on Japan. I don't know why it is all happening there, to them, on the same long weekend.

But it is.

And at the same time that we are sitting in front of these videos on CNN and youtube and facebook and our evening news, people are talking about disaster preparedness. How you should use this as an example of why you should be better prepared for an emergency.

I am here to tell you that if a tsunami is heading your way, or if your home is reduced to rubble in an earthquake or tornado or other horrible awful disaster, it doesn't make a damn bit of difference how much toilet paper you have, or whether you have enough bottled water, or if your first aid kit is stocked.

Entire towns are gone.
People are DEAD.

And I am going to bet that a whole bunch of those people had kick ass first aid kits, bottled water, canned goods, flashlights and batteries, possibly a bag of safety helmets and masks, and maybe even a bomb shelter in the yard.

These people were prepared. To say that they weren't prepared, to say that they didn't take the threat seriously, to say that they would be alive if they had done more, or done it better, or been faster.....

You cannot run for your life with a case of bottled water.
First aid kits that are buried in mud and rocks and pieces of building and cars, all under 15 feet of rushing water will be no use at all.

The most important thing that this has taught me - this, and the tsunami 5 years ago, and the earthquake in Haiti, and the flooding after Katrina, and all of the other awful terrible things that happen in this world - they have taught me two things.

Respond to every warning as if your life is at stake.
Head to higher ground.


Not a building.
Not a car.
Not a bridge.
Not a tree.

Find a fucking hill - the highest one around - and RUN UP IT. Bring your children. Bring your elders. Bring the people who are weaker than you. Make sure everyone is awake, and aware, and MOVING.

And if you have time to grab a first aid kit, or an umbrella (for protection from elements and to signal rescuers) or a flashlight, or water, or food.......well, great. Good on you.

But the most important thing you can escape with is your life.

1 comment:

Elly said...

It's hard not to comment, I think. It's been so shocking, and a lot of the footage is so hard to watch. People have died, lots and lots of people. Homes have be destroyed, and it's hard not to be affected by it.

In terms of disaster prepardness? I don't think its a bad idea. It gives all those people who feel like they need to *do* something, who need some kind of reassurance something to do.

I think that if your house isn't completely demolished, then yeah. It might be helpful. But if it's your life that is at stake? You don't go back for the kit. You go somewhere that is safe, and you take the people you love with you.

Happy thoughts, hey. I'm glad to hear that you + yours are mostly okay.