I did a post yesterday on Sustainable & Resilient Communities, then thought that I should have started with a post talking about Disaster Readiness first. The class we are taking, Neighbors Helping Neighbors-Disaster Readiness, sponsored by Baltimore County and Homeland Security, is a step toward preparing one’s family for the eventual emergency situation. Eventual meaning, not if, but when an emergency occurs. So let’s back up and talk about disasters that can occur.
Most disasters can be broken down into just two categories;
Natural-Hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, flooding, earthquakes, etc
Manmade-train or plane crashes, hazardous material leaks, vehicle accidents, etc.
Depending on the area of the world certain natural disasters are more prevalent. Here on the east coast of the United States our primary concerns lean toward hurricanes and flooding. These are the two predominant forms of natural disasters for our area. Yes we do get a few tornadoes and we are on a major fault line for earthquakes, but these occur much less often.
The U.S. west coast would be more concerned with earthquakes, while the Midwest would be watching for tornadoes. Excessive heat or cold could be a natural disaster. Lighting strikes in excessive heat make for huge natural disasters on the west coast with the spreading wild fires. Of course some of these could be considered man-made as well if started by a discarded lit cigarette.
Man-made disasters can be just as devastating as any natural disaster and can occur anywhere and anytime. Here in Baltimore, just this past year was a major train collision with a dump truck in a heavily populated area. The explosion was phenomenal and could be felt miles away. From my house I could see the flames rising above the horizon.
After the initial impact came the threat of an area evacuation because of the potential for a hazardous material spill from a train car. Fortunately there was no spill and no evacuation had to occur.
But what if an evacuation had to occur and we would have to leave our homes for a few days. Would it not be easier to leave in an emergency IF there was already a plan in place and a bag packed for just such an emergency?
That is the goal of emergency readiness! We never know when one of these disasters may occur, but taking steps ahead of time to prepare for the potentiality of a disaster that is predominant to the area just makes sense.
No I am not a “doomsdayer” or “prepper” per se, but being prepared for common to our area emergencies just shows that I care enough about my family, friends, and neighbors to be a help and not a hindrance during troubling times.
I would advocate for every family to take some time to educate themselves about disaster readiness. Take stock of the area in which you live. Do a risk assessment of potential disasters and prepare for eventuality, not just for yourself, but your family, and your community.
Be sure to read Sustainable & Resilient Communities on this blog to see how to prepare a community for disaster readiness. I will be following up with other posts as we progress through the class.