Last fall San Diego, along with parts of Arizona and Mexico, was impacted by a blackout that impacted over 5 million people. Luckily it was for less than a day. But what a mess it created. And good thing it wasn't longer, as originally predicted. What if it had been for 3, 5, or even 7 days? What would you have done? How would you have survived it? If you have a business - how would you have performed your work without power? Do you have a plan in place in the event that it happens again? Can we afford to ignore potential disasters, natural and man made, without doing something to get ready for it?
Disasters are happening around us every week. The east coast was recently hit with a storm in June and millions were left without power for days. The end of last year the east coast was without power for weeks. Last December a windstorm ripped through Los Angeles and surrounding areas leaving over 300,000 without power for days. Broken traffic lights snarled traffic across the region. Half of South Pasadena remained without water because an electrical pump from the city's reservoirs failed as part of a widespread power outage, authorities said. We are also witnessing a record number of tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes.
And here in Southern California we are sitting on three high probability disasters that could happen at any time. And what are we doing to get ready for it? Most continue to ignore it. Many are under the false impression that a government agency is prepared to take care of us. How wrong they are. The blackouts in our area have proven that alone.
I received a call in December last year from a representative from Southern California Edison at 2 a.m. looking for solar powered lights to help the people without any power. And he wanted them by 7 a.m. the following morning. We didn't have the capacity to produce lights for 300,000 people in that short of a period of time.
But therein lies the problem. We are always reactionary to disasters. When the power went out last year our Oceanside store sold out of supplies in the first 3 hours. We even had people driving by asking if we had any warm food. How ill prepared we really are for what lies ahead? And human nature is partly a cause for our procrastination. When do we install a security system? (After we have been robbed). When do we fix the roof? (After the water comes in and damages our property). And when do most people prepare for a disaster? We wait for another day and then "react" after the disaster hits.
Monday it came out in the news that the midsection of the country is in a serious drought. The historic drought baking the nation's breadbasket is about to hit American consumers where it hurts most -- the supermarket checkout."Prices are going to go up," Justin Gardner, assistant professor of agribusiness at Middle Tennessee State University, "The only question is when." Everything from breakfast cereal to roast beef will cost more as a result of the worst drought in 24 years, which has already prompted authorities to declare more than 1,000 counties in 26 states -- nearly two-thirds of land in the lower 48 states, stretching from Nevada to South Carolina -- natural disaster areas. By fall they predict the food prices to go up as much as 30 percent to 40 percent.
So what are our options to prepare for all of these ongoing and upcoming disasters? Option One: We can do nothing and let the wind blow us where it will. That is a dangerous approach. Option Two: Overreact and prepare for the end of the world, where it is left for everyone to fight and fend for their lives. Option Three: We can take reasonable steps in putting together a disaster plan in and make preparedness a lifestyle and be prepared for whatever may come our way.
Recently I met with a couple that came to a freeze dried taste testing event. They were firm believers in storing food for future disruptions. He was a contractor and work has been real slow over the last year. How did they survive it? They had stored food ahead to prepare for such problems. They shared that several family members and friends had made fun of them for storing food, stating - "so you are one of THEM." (Aquating them to "doomsday preppers.") These people can laugh all they want...until disaster strikes them and they realize they have nothing to fall back on.
It reminds me of the story I read in grade school about the ant and the grasshopper, "'Why bother about winter?' said the Grasshopper; 'we have got plenty of food at present.'" But the ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the grasshopper had no food, and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer.
Preparing is NOT having to be a "doomsday prepper", or a fanatic. You don't have to plan for the "end of the world". If it is the end of the world, what is there to prepare for? Preparing for things that are happening throughout the world every day is being prudent. And with the probability of disasters in our near future? You can call me whatever you want, I have a family and I have no interest in seeing them suffer because of my shortsightedness and lack of preparedness. Responsible people will learn what their threats are and how they best can prepare.
There are five things that people will always find themselves without after a disaster:
1. A 72-hour kit - for evacuations.
2. Clean drinking water - and people cannot live longer than 3 days without it.
3. Food supplies - most only have enough food for 3-5 days.
4. Power - to cook, clean, for communications and lighting.
5. Adequate first aid supplies.
How prepared are you in these five areas? Are you ready to get motivated and develop a disaster plan? Or you can continue to wait until after the disaster hits and just see what happens. Most struggle to know exactly where and how to begin.
First - Know what disasters are possible in your area and what the outcome will be. Second - establish a disaster plan with a checklist. Third - act on that plan and roll play any potential outcome.
There are 3 opportunities that I am offering for instruction over the next few weeks:
Instruction on food storage and a free freeze dried taste test event - Friday, July 20 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 21 at 11 a.m. (click here for details and registration).
Free Seminar on Earthquakes and Tsunamis in Southern California - Saturday, July 28th at 10 a.m. (click here for details and registration)
Free Webinars on Disaster Threats and Developing a Personal Disaster Plan (click here for details and registration).
If you are a business, home owners association, school, church, or other group that would like to have a presentation at your location email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.