Thursday, August 7, 2014

Disaster Preparedness


(Note: An abbreviated version of this information for posting on local websites or publishing in local news venues is available here)

Two Steps to Individual Readiness

(This is a special report prepared for The Patriot Post by the Emergency Preparedness and Response Planning Committee, a public policy group chaired by a member of The Patriot Post's National Advisory Committee.)
In 2012 we convened a knowledgeable team of emergency preparedness and response experts, including federal, state and local emergency management professionals, and specialists from the fields of emergency medicine, urban and wilderness survival, academia, law enforcement and related private sector services. They compiled basic individual preparedness recommendations to sustain you and your family during a short-term crisis. The objective was to outline a Two Step Individual Readiness Plan which would enable you to shelter in place in the event of a local, regional or national catastrophic event, including a pandemic.
There are two emergency scenarios which may require you to shelter-in-place.
1. The most likely scenario requiring you to shelter-in-place would be the short-term need to isolate yourself from chemical, biological, or radiological contaminants released accidentally or intentionally into the environment. (This could require sheltering for 1-3 days.) This means selecting a small, interior room, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. It does not mean sealing off your entire home or office building. If emergency personnel advise you to shelter-in-place, follow the instructions provided below for your location. Make sure you have an operational battery-powered radio.
2. Less likely but more consequential scenarios requiring you to shelter-in-place for a longer period of time include, but are not limited to, meteorological, geological and technological hazards, which pose a serious threat to power and communication grids (which are increasingly complex), transportation and material supply lines, food supplies, and both water and sanitation systems. Additionally, a natural or manmade bio-hazard emergency could require sheltering for 1-6 weeks or longer.
A significant biological threat is a pandemic involving a virulent contagion transmitted by animals (bird or insect transmitted viruses) and/or through contact with other people. Outbreaks of such contagions are a growing risk given the intra- and inter-continental mobility of humans. There is a very real and growing threat of a bio-terrorist attack utilizing humans to spread contagions -- bio-bombers -- terrorist "martyrs" who, instead of strapping on a bomb and detonating themselves in a crowded urban area, become human hosts for virulent strains of deadly contagions. A pandemic can be incited if a cadre of bio-bombers fly into the U.S. legally, and park themselves in major airport hubs around the nation for days, where they can infect others traveling across country with pathogens, symptoms of which may take days to manifest.
In the event of a pandemic threat, you must isolate yourself from other people in order not to contract an illness. The best location to shelter-in-place in the event of a biological threat, is in your residence.
Sheltering in place for pandemic or other threats which necessitates isolation for more than 1-3 days, requires basic preparations. Follow our Two Step Individual Readiness Plan as outlined below, to unsure you and your family are prepared for a longer-term requirement to shelter-in-place.
We buy insurance coverage for our autos and homes, which we hope never to use. Preparing a Shelter in Place Basic Kit for two weeks is far less expensive than other insurance premiums, and though we hope never to use those provisions, if the day should come when you need them, their value will be priceless.
These easy instructions will simplify the process of setting aside minimal provisions for a short-term emergency. Of course you can take the two-week basic provisions list and multiply it in order to establish sufficient supplies for longer crisis duration. While two weeks of provisions is considered the absolute minimum, six weeks of provisions is the recommended threshold per person. However, the more provisions you set aside, the better able you will be to assist others in need.
Moreover, building more substantial emergency provisions will provide you with the opportunity to share those provisions with others in need, and reduce dependence on local, state and federal government relief efforts. The fact is, government relief programs for critical events are underfunded, undersupplied and in the event of a regional crisis, the most basic provisions may not be restored for weeks.
Even with relatively inert weather threats, the shelves of urban and suburban food and supply sellers can be emptied in hours, and can remain empty for days or weeks because resupply warehouses are often in other regions and clear transportation routes may be a problem.
This Two Week Shelter in Place Basic Kit is designed to meet basic needs of one adult should there be a local or regional disruption of services and supplies. This Kit should be modified to account for the ages of members in your household and special medical or dietary needs including prescription drugs. Many of the provisions on this list can be easily transported in the event you must evacuate the area.
There are two stages required for preparing your Two Week "Shelter in Place Basic Kit." First you must determine your nutritional and health needs. Second you must determine your shelter needs. The information below is designed to greatly simplify that process.


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