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Monday, June 30, 2008

Be Prepared

Everyone is familiar with the old Boy Scout motto of "be prepared." But, in this day and age, it is especially a good idea to be prepared for emergencies. Recently, my area of Southern Illinois had a series of earthquakes that shook the area and got us all to thinking about disaster preparedness.
If you weren't aware of this, this locale was the scene of the most devastating earthquake in recorded history for the United States. Between December, 1811 and February, 1812, a series of quakes hit the town of New Madrid, Missouri, culminating with the biggest one on February 7th, 1812. This earthquake literally reshaped the North American continent. By comparison, the great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 was felt moderately over 6,000 square miles, while the New Madrid Earthquake was felt over 50,000 square miles. It even rang bell towers as far away as Boston, cracked sidewalks in Washington D.C. and toppled chimneys in Maine, it was so severe.
So, it can happen literally at any time. People in this area also have to contend with tornadoes, floods, famine and almost every other Biblical plague that can be thought of. With this in mind, I have compiled an informative Earthquake Survival Tips document and a handy list for a 72-Hour Survival Kit. To quote from the first paragraph of the 72-Hour Survival Kit:
"What will you do if disaster strikes your neighborhood: a fire, a riot, a flood, a tornado, a hurricane or an earthquake? The most critical need for help after the disaster is during the first 72 hours, yet community and government assistance will probably not be available during this period. You and your family will be on your own."
Knowing this and being prepared for it will go a long way toward your families' safety and survival. And in this day and age with so many potential threats: Economic collapse, terrorist attack (real and imagined), civil unrest, pandemic (real or imagined), or any of the natural disasters that can befall us at any time, the better you and your family are prepared to cope with these conditions in those first hours after something happens, the better your chances will be of surviving. I can't stress this enough.
And one more thing: This is the final paragraph in my 72-Hour Survival Kit:
"Your plan is like a plant. If you ignore it will die. To keep your plan healthy, you should go over it with each family member at least once every six months. One way to do this is to make a night of it. Pick one night to go over the plan, practice escape routes and contact procedures, call your out of area contact (they’d probably like to hear from you), change the batteries in your smoke detector, and cycle the food and water in your 72 hour kit. This is a fun way to ensure that your family is prepared to react in the event of a disaster."

As Bob Dylan said it so poignantly back in the 1960's, "Oh, the times they are a' changin'."

You can use these handy links to download both documents in Microsoft Word format. They are extremely small files, so the seconds it will take to get them and print them out will add potential years to your families' lifespans.

Oh, and one final word of caution. As you go shopping to purchase these life-saving supplies, do yourself and all of us a favor by not buying these things at Wal-Mart. Who knows what they may be contaminated with considering most of it will probably be a product of China!