Happy summer to everyone. This will be the final article from me as the
Washington County Emergency Manager. It has been a privilege and
honor to pass along information that I hope was useful for the past few
Preparedness is something that we all need to take seriously, especially
with the talk of shortages and increasing costs that are so very evident.
I often hear the comment that “I don’t have a lot of extra money or
space to prepare”. It is always best to be frugal and as prices increase
now is better than later especially when prices continue to rise. Take
advantage of sales when you can. Raise some fresh vegetables in little
containers if you don’t have space. Prioritize some space for storage.
There are a lot of good resources out there to help along those lines.
Sometimes some small adjustments on our part can pay large dividends
in the long term. The key is to plan and not simply react.
A lot of preparedness is knowledge not just physical objects. Do
internet searches, read books or articles on subject matter and most of
all practice what you have learned way in advance of having to use
those skill sets. Following will be a list of some basic skill sets that
everyone should know. These will prioritize according to the
environment and necessities.
Food: build a cache of basic staples, (flour, sugar, proteins, carbs) how
these are utilized is up to you. Prepare for food fatigue, only buy what
you will eat and be ready to enhance the palatability of basic food.
Water: Learn how to harvest water and make it safe to consume if
public sources become unavailable.
Medical: During an emergency medical help may be delayed or not
readily accessible. Know a minimum of basic first aid, ways to help someone who has breathing difficulties, stop bleeding and make sure their heart is beating. No one expects you to be a medical professional just enough to help someone until someone with more advanced skills can help.
Shelter: Know how to make small repairs with minimal tools (hammer,
saw, screwdriver, nails, screws, tarps and cordage). Your skill level will
dictate what you can accomplish. Also having these items can be very
beneficial even if you don’t have the skills, possibly someone with the
skills can put your items to good use for you.
I cannot over emphasize the importance of skill sets. Become a
volunteer in your community, skills are often learned from others and
volunteerism is a very good course especially when the field you
volunteer for is an area where you need to learn more. It also gives a
great sense of accomplishment by helping others to help yourself it’s a
win- win situation.
Preparedness is a safety net for when unexpected situations arise, prepare for emergencies.
Resiliency affords us to opportunity to overcome obstacles by having
Survival is a romantic term used a lot with preparedness that I believe is
over used. Survival is immediate (they survived the accident) which is
short-term. Preparedness and Resiliency are long term.
The ultimate goal is to thrive during adversity not just simply survive.
The following are some Top of the list items to focus on and to follow
later on the list are additional items.
Make a plan, without a plan we’ll just spin our wheels.
Learn about ways to harvest and purify water. Not having enough
water or becoming sick from tainted water only compounds the
Shelter, do we bug out or shelter in place? It is always advised, if safe to
do so is to shelter in place, that’s where all of our stuff is and if we
prepare correctly we won’t be able to take all our preps with us. Learn
ways to improvise shelter if not at home, also learn how to maintain
and adjust our permanent shelter during adverse conditions.
Food, this is a topic that most folks dwell on and for good reason.
Maintain a good supply of shelf stable foods that don’t require a lot of
preparation and need little supplement to store (refrigeration). As
mentioned before only store what you will eat. Don’t forget to include
some comfort foods as a pick me up when things are challenging.
That was a list of probably the 4 top things to keep in mind. Following
are some areas that in the long term will become important too.
Communications, do you have something besides your cell phone when
an emergency happens? Radios of some sort HAM, CB, and FRS/GMRS.
Do you have a way to gather information about what is happening?
Portable transistor radio with weather band.
Security, barking dog that will alert you, good locks on windows and
doors, not leaving items visible to encourage trespassers along with
other security measures.
Medical, first aid training at a minimum. Taking care of those small boo-
boo’s without adding to the load of Healthcare professionals especially
Community, be engaged with family, neighbors and other likeminded
people. When emergencies happen folks do come together to ease the
burden by helping one another.
Situational Awareness, stay informed in regards to what’s happening
that may affect you, whether it may be weather events, world events,
and social change. Both natural and manmade.
There are many more if I were to continue this would be a book and
not an article.
Preparedness is entirely up to you. Prepare to be self-sufficient for at
least 2 weeks for shelter in place, with a long term goal of 3 months and
72 hours if you leave your primary residence, this means even traveling
short distances. Have some provisions at your place of employment.
This would include having some cash available in case you can’t access
funds that are held elsewhere for some unforeseen reason.
Plan, learn and practice to become more resilient. It is up to you
because it is your responsibility not someone else.
Thank you and stay safe and thrive through adversity.