Hurricane Sandy should be an eye-opener for all of us. While we don’t see hurricanes in our immediate area, some people will remember the Mt. St. Helens volcano eruption in 1980 and then Firestorm ’91. Many will also remember Ice Storm 1996. Though the most recent of these was 16 years ago, they show that our area is susceptible to disasters that are at best uncomfortable and inconvenient and at worst, fatal.
One of the ongoing lessons being taught by Hurricane Sandy is that some people were personally prepared and so have been able to better adapt to the discomfort and devastation associated with relocation and the loss of personal property. Their personal preparation helped them survive. Instead of relying entirely on the federal, state, and local governments as well as non-government organizations such as the American Red Cross, they had some form of plan and had made some level of preparation to better help them survive.
There are two overlapping phases of emergency planning: emotional/psychological preparedness and then plan preparation and execution. Both are equally important. Each phase feeds and reinforces the other.
There are a bazillion websites and publications to help people who want to devise their personalized family emergency preparedness plan.
I’ve looked at two good publications which address the emotional/psychological phase especially well but from markedly different perspectives. Then they both provide unusually comprehensive lists of things to think about and address in developing a plan to survive.
The first online publication is the US Air Force Search and Rescue Survival Training Manual, AF Regulation 64-4, Volume 1, dated 15 July 1985. Chapters 1 through 6 are devoted to the emotional and psychological preparation to survive in friendly or hostile environments and among friendly or hostile people.
The second online publication is the 2011 LDS Preparedness Manual. The “practical logistics” of surviving are discussed throughout the manual, but a more sociological approach to discussing the emotional/psychological preparation begins about page 129 with the topic “Ok, But What Do I Prepare For?” This manual is far more comprehensive and informative than the Air Force SAR manual, and it is far easier to read and more practical as well.
Neither of these manuals is the end-all and be-all for family preparation. They are good starting points, good food for thought, to help families organize their own personalized preparedness plans tailored to each family’s particular needs.