Disaster Preparedness

Disaster Preparedness

Disaster Preparedness

One of the United States’ unique characteristics is that it is one of the world’s largest countries, and a variety of landscapes and climates covers it. The diversity among regions within the U.S. is why it is more prone to natural disasters than other World Atlas, “over the last 70 years, more than 2,000 natural disasters have been declared across the United States”. Disasters have negatively impacted virtually all regions of the United States at one time or another, but some states experience more disasters than other states. For example, states like California, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma are affected at a much higher rate than all other states. Texas is the state where the most natural disasters occur due to its sheer size and location. It is the second-largest state after Alaska, and it is located near the Gulf of Mexico. According to NBC News, Texas declares at least one major disaster every year, and “Texas has dealt with tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and regular coastal hurricanes.” 2020 has been unprecedented when it comes to disasters including, hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, earthquakes, and the current pandemic caused by COVID-19. It is essential to prepare for a disaster, especially in recent times; it is equally necessary to prepare for multiple disasters simultaneously. Let’s take a closer look at some of the crises that regularly impacts the United States before discussing how to prepare for one.

Hurricanes Season In 2020

Hurricanes and other weather-related disasters have been ongoing even during the current crises with COVID-19. During 2019, experts warned that the hurricane season in 2020 would be busy, but it proved to be historical. According to USA Today, “Hurricane Zeta was the 27th named storm of a historically busy year, with more than a month left in the Atlantic hurricane season. It set a new record as the 11th named storm to make landfall in the continental U.S. in a single season, well beyond the nine that hit in 1916”. Another news article discussed how the storms set a new record in September 2020 because experts named ten storms in one month. During September, there were: Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, Wilfred, Alpha, and Beta. The names ended up going into the Greek alphabet because all other alphabets had been exhausted. Many of those storms destroyed homes and knocked out power, which only added to the stress of living in quarantine and going through COVID-19. According to Yahoo News, “[Hurricane Zeta knocked out the power] for as many as 2.6 million people across seven states at one point, and nearly 400,000 people in and around New Orleans were still without electricity on Friday”. While the states near the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico dealt with hurricanes and tropical storms, Californians have battled through wildfires

 

Wildfires of 2020

This year has been wildly different from previous years when it comes to wildfires in California. Most people only associate California with earthquakes, but this year the spotlight has been on wildfires. Currently, Cal Fire reports that 4,700 firefighters continued to fight 22 fires in the state during October, and they responded to 31 new fires during the last week of October. According to CNN, “California's record-breaking wildfires have consumed about 1 million acres in just the past month [September]". 4.1 million acres have burned across the state of California during the year 2020. The most recent fires in California (The Silverado and Blueridge Fire) caused over 90,000 Californians to evacuate. Almost a hundred thousand people had to grab what they could in a matter of minutes and leave home, hoping that their house would be standing when they returned. Covid-19 remains on everyone's mind, even when evacuating because of a fire or hurricane. What can you do to prepare for a disaster in the middle of a pandemic? We will get to that, but first, let's talk about the dreaded pandemic caused by Covid-19.

Covid-19

Covid-19 has negatively impacted the whole world, and the upcoming flu season only makes things worse. The United States reached a grim milestone on October 30th after health officials reported 100,000 new infections, pushing cases over the nine million mark within the United States. The pandemic has introduced new societal norms like wearing face masks and social distancing. Ironically, the more the media reports new infections and possible lockdowns, the more people go and pandemic-buy. Pandemic buying is buying items in large quantities that may or may not be needed. Recent reports have emerged, suggesting that people stockpile frozen dinners, pasta, paper towels, toilet paper, Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer, water, and canned goods. But what do you need to prepare for a disaster while going through a pandemic?

Preparing for a Disaster

Experts suggest that people pack enough food, water, and other gear to last at least three days. In reality, one should pack enough things to last at least one week. In some cases, responders may not be able to get to the hardest-hit areas of a disaster for at least a week. So, it would be wise to have enough water, food, and other gear to last at least seven days. The experts tell you to keep a three-day supply of water, equivalent to a gallon per person. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides guidelines for water consumption during a disaster, suggesting that one person should have at least a ½ gallon of water to drink. The other ½ gallon of water should be for cooking and sanitizing things. There is a simple solution for purifying and storing clean drinking water, even if you find yourself without power. We will get to that more straightforward solution for purifying water in a bit, but first, check out the list below of other items needed during a natural disaster:

  • • Flashlights: Most of the time, the power goes out during a crisis. You should have more than one flashlight, preferably ones that require A.A. or AAA batteries, since those batteries are easier to find. However, a small flashlight on a keychain can work as well.
  • • Multitool: You will need a tool that has a combination of "useful" tools on it. For example, a device that has a whistle, fire starter, and a knife can make a big difference during a natural disaster. What you do not need is a device that weighed down with useless tools.
  • • First Aid Kit: It is crucial to have a first aid kit on hand if someone gets a cut, bruise, or wound. Sometimes a neighbor, friend, or family member may need help. It would be wise to have a supply of bandages, gauze, scissors, and a 30-day supply of over-the-counter medicines.
  • • Food: You need at least three days of non-perishable foods. Foods that gives your body what it needs to survive like canned goods, cereal, peanut butter, dehydrated fruit, vegetables, protein bars, and jerky.
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    Disasters and Clean Water

    We have already established that every person needs at least one gallon of water per day for at least three days, which can be difficult to obtain during a pandemic or natural disaster. Most folks automatically think of buying bottled water to prepare for a disaster, but bottled water is heavy and sells out quickly. Bottled water also expires within a year, so it is essential to check the water's date if stored for later. Storage containers should be BPA-free, and they should not have previously held any substances that can breed bacteria, like milk. Many people like to use old milk jugs, but those are not safe for storing water. Let's consider how much-bottled water a family of four would need to last three days. One case of water is equal to about 4.6 gallons of water, which means one case would only be enough for one person for a little over three days. If you have a family of four, you need at least four cases of water to sustain the whole family for three days. Fortunately, a water purification system eliminates the need to buy bottled water, check the dates on water, or find space to store water. The Berkey Water Purification System is one of the best brands in the water filter industry.

    Water and the Berkey Purification System

    The Berkey line of water purifiers is highly effective at removing contaminants from polluted water and will not just "filter" the water but "purifies" the water. The Berkey units are classified as a purification system because they remove up to 99.999% of viruses and 99.9999% of pathogenic bacteria. The Berkey system uses a gravity-fed water purification system that works properly without water pressure, electricity, or any unique plumbing. The gravity-fed system is a big deal because weather-related disasters will cause the power to go out for days. Berkey systems come with an upper chamber and a lower chamber, including two Black Berkey purification filters for the upper section. The unit uses gravity to work, which means these units are great at removing impurities from polluted water but even better at leaving minerals in the water that your body needs.

    Key Takeaway:

    Preparing for any disaster means thinking about what will be needed when going through a storm, and life afterwards. Every disaster is different from the next, but some things never change, like needing food and water.


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