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EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN A DISASTER
By Deborah Tutnauer 














Emergencies and Disasters happen more often than we like to think about. The topic of Emergency Preparedness is being talked about more and more often. Natural disasters seem to be increasing. Terrorist threats are in the news. The question of emergency preparedness covers many areas, from mindset to materials.

This article is designed to help you begin your emergency preparedness efforts. We start with a list that you will initially find unexpected, yet also common sense. Being prepared is not something that you do once and then forget about. It is a mindset; a lifestyle; a way of being the world. This is not meant to frighten but in fact to comfort. Being prepared for a disaster limits the initial panic when something horrific occurs, thus increasing the likelihood that you and your family will survive the days ahead.

There is not much that can be done while an event, such an an earthquake, tornado or bomb is occurring, if you have not been able to get away from the area. But after it is over, there are five top things that you need to do next.

1. Move Slowly. This is very counter-intuitive, as the first inclination is to jump into action. Adrenalin is flowing and panic is setting in. Moving slowly does not mean to do nothing, or even to not take action. It means to take deep breaths and to work hard to think and than act. Even an extra 5-10 seconds of thought will allow your brain the time to make better judgments as to what actions to take.

2. Survey the Scene. Assess the situation and determine what is MOST life threatening. Is someone in dire need of first aid? Is there a gas leak? Is a person pinned under a beam? Is there potential for another event or attack? This is a triage moment. There will be many things to focus on. Immediate danger is first.

3. Take Immediate Action to Address. Now take action to address the most immediately crucial situations. If you have been somewhat thoughtful in your preparedness, you may have access to your emergency preparedness kit and your first aid supplies. (These should be in every home, auto, business, classroom, etc..) Render the first aid that is needs, move away from danger that still exists. Help people who need it the most.

4. Look for safe, close shelter. Once you have addressed anything that is immediately life threatening as best as possible, it is time to think ahead. Find a safe shelter as close as possible, so that anyone looking for you can find you. If you are in your car, stay there (unless the car itself is dangerous). Cars can provide a wealth of safety, shelter and heat. (Again, when you think about emergency preparedness you car is a place you should be prepared to live in for at least 5 days -- at all times).

5. Stay as calm as possible. Panic uses valuable energy. You now need to think about conserving your energy, your body heat, water and food. Good emergency preparedness means that you have some kind of kit that contains water, food, heat source, and shelter in your home and in your car. Ideally in your office as well. Think about this TODAY and take action TODAY to set this up for yourself and your family.

This list is only meant to be the very beginning of your education. It does not even touch upon a the huge overview of items to acquire; training and education; lists to be made and checked off; plans to be developed. But it is a starting place, and you need to start somewhere in developing an emergency preparedness mindset and an emergency preparedness plan for yourself, your family and your community.

What is you hear a knock on the door and were told, "You Have Five Minutes to Evacuate". Would you know what to do next? Do you have a bag ready to go with all the essentials? The experts in emergency preparedness have developed lists, supplies and plans to help you get prepared. Being proactive is key here. NOW is the time to action