Preparedness Pays: Things

Again (and again and again and again), there are an almost infinite number of possible disasters. If you try to plan for individual disasters, you will not only be overwhelmed, but fail to take good precautions. Instead, focus on the fact that there are only three things that can be hit by a disaster: people, places, and things.

Today, we are going to touch briefly on things. I say briefly simply because this is the introduction to the topic, an overview. The proper term for things is infrastructure; however, that term makes most people think about roads, bridges, and such. While they are a part of preparedness, there is little you can do about truly major items other than plan to avoid or make use of if there is a major disaster. What I want to concentrate on are the parts of infrastructure that are within your control: the things you use every day.

In that context, infrastructure applies to the items that are a major part of your life. That ranges from smart phones to the sump pump in your basement. It is the power and hand tools you own, it is the machinery that keeps your house warm or cool, the water flowing, the water heated, etc. Things also applies to the food and other resources that are the logistics of your life. Yes, there is overlap with places, but that just makes planning easier.

The two major impaces of a disaster on things boil down to damage and/or loss-of-use, or the loss of resources. Recent events in Texas highlight what happens when a rare occurance results in a loss of the things we often take for granted.

For example, the loss of electricity removed the ability for many to heat their home, run appliances, cook, and maintain communications. The loss of water, which was apparently a combination of freezing and the loss of communications had impacts from being unable to have water for drinking to being able to bathe and flush the toilet. The loss of the two had a cascading effect, which was compounded by being unable to access groceries and other necessary logistics.

The number of people who were unprepared for any of this is hardly surprising, though I wish it were surprising. How many of you have spare water for drinking (bottled), spare water for cooking (jugs or larger), or spare water for flushing the toilets? How many of you have an alternate means for cooking, such as a camp stove, propane burner, or a butane chef’s stove? How many of you have an alternate means of heating the home at need? How many of you have lined up a place to go to in the event of such an emergency?

Thankfully, I do know some in Texas who were at least moderately prepared for what happened. One combined resources with a person in a location that maintained power, and they not only helped each other out, they were able to help some fellow members of the military by giving them a place they could hang out, relax, and warm up other than on base. I’m aware of others that used camping gear, such a tents, to set up an emergency shelter in their home that they could keep heated, while using camping and other supplies to get by until water and electricity were restored. Yet another, as did many, used their vehicle to warm up, recharge electronics, and otherwise get by.

The good thing is, preparing for that loss of, or damage to, things is fairly simple and involves some of the resources already discussed. One good thing about doing this series of posts is that I’m going to work on a chapter on tools, that is the things that are needed across the three types of damage. These range from flashlights to weapons, as all are needed and useful tools in an emergency.

A quick question for the reader: if you have flashlights and other tools that require batteries, have you checked them recently to be sure the batteries are still good and that there is no damage to the units in which they reside? Do you/did you have spare batteries that were in date? How about other dated resources? Were they/are they good?

We’ve covered the basics of Preaparedness Pays, now, let’s start getting serious about how to plan and how to prepare.