Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Determine Your Hazards and Risks

If you ask the average person to identify the most common disaster risks they face, they'll often answer "power outages, flooded basements and mother-in-law visits."  Fair enough, although, in defense of power outages, it's not always the utility company's fault.  Car accidents seem to have a special attraction to power poles as do tornadoes. 

Some people might also include severe weather or earthquake risks if they live in an area prone to those but almost no one will consider the train tracks running through the center of town (hint: toxic spill from derailment) nor will they consider the industrial area near their residential subdivision (hint: exploding fireball).

Understanding what local risks you face is the first step in emergency preparedness and I can tell you, from personal experience, that there's no surprise like an exploding fireball surprise.   

My definition of prepping involves living a balanced life somewhere between casual risk management and wearing a tin foil hat on my head.  Without giving up a normal lifestyle or dropping off the grid completely, balanced prepping will leave you feeling a lot less anxious and far more confident in your ability to face adversity.
The preparedness mindset is based in a belief system that promotes self-reliance, risk management and the importance of anticipation.  It’s not anti-government or anti-society but, instead, adopts a more positive approach that says “I know I can count on myself but I’m not sure about everybody else.” 
Preparedness enhances your resiliency because, in the moment of truth, you won't be competing with hundreds or thousands of others in need of help.  Quite the opposite, the prepper may be able to help others as well as themselves.  When things go sideways, at the very least, they won’t be standing in front of you in a three-hour panic-buying check out line at the grocery store and that’s something.
Now, last week, I promised to share a photo of an item that I got for free.  And here it is (mine is not this brand but very similar).

This is a piece of gear that, no matter where you live or what hazards you face, you'll want to own.  It's a bright LED lantern that can be energized through rechargeable batteries, solar power or hand cranking.  It also includes an AM/FM radio with weather stations and a cell phone/USB charger.  Did I mention that I got it for free?  
There are a variety of brands that offer this type of emergency lantern.  In my case, all I had to do was redeem some of my reward miles on a loyalty card.  The costs of shipping were included and I didn't have to spend any time or gas to go out shopping.  It doesn't get any better than having free emergency gear delivered to your door! 
But, before we can get into the 8-step Prep for Free program, first we need to establish your hazards and risk levels.  To help you get started and to, ultimately, customize your emergency supplies, I've put together three Prep for Free Hazard and Risk Assessment Checklists that cover off natural hazards, technological hazards and human-caused hazards. 

I urge you to use them to get a good sense of your local risks including those nearby your home, work and children's schools.  Don't forget to review your regular transportation routes as well.  In coming posts, you'll see why this is important when we take a look at a few events that surprised commuters and turned their daily drive into a deadly disaster.
By the way, I've made these PDF checklists fillable so that all you have to do is select your hazards and your level of risk for each.  Just be sure to download the PDF first, then save and use the fill out function.

Good luck on your risk assessments and see you next week!
Thanks for stopping by,
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© Copyright 2015 Nancy Argyle

1 comment:

  1. “I know I can count on myself but I’m not sure about everybody else.” This line presents the prepper paradox. We need others to thrive, yet others might kill us. What to do?

    Establishing our state of affairs re: prep condition helps us baseline our true level of readiness which, in turn, allows for a realistic eval of how certain people fit into your lives. People known and unknown.... Part of my risk assessment takes into account the human factor as it might affect the after-disaster environment. It's my firm belief that the grasshopper vs. ant analogy will apply in deadly form to many rosey-eyed preppers, just when their after-doom situation looks all set.