Personal Disaster Management 2

Picture of the Reno, NV Fire from Alexander Hoon, NOAA Meteorologist

In the wake of the terrible Caughlin Fire, in Reno Nevada we are reminded of how quickly the environment around us can change.  What if you were forced to leave your house at 2:30a.m, thrown into a fire storm while frigid cold airs hinder your senses, wind gusting up to 60 mph, ashes falling in all directions, and you have only 5 minutes to leave? Unfortunately, these horrendous circumstances were bestowed upon many Northern Nevadan residents in the early morning hours of Friday, November 18th 2011.   I have attached an informational section to help out the families misplaced due to these events.

Helpful links:

I also want to take this opportunity to share some of my personal crisis management practices.  Planning is always my foundation and first step in building a sound personal crisis management plan.  Planning can be as simple as identifying a meeting place within your home, this also a simple task children can understand.  We can branch out further, a specific meeting point outside of the house such as a close neighbor or relative’s house can be an excellent place to seek refuge.  Pets are another common concern. Dog or cat cages might be an optional item to work into your plan.  In referring back to my earlier post, Check Yourself, Before You Cost Yourself, checklists are a great tool in these situations as well.

  • Evaluate the environment around you. What are you planning for? Probable events that may occur in Northern Nevada are fires, seismic activity, & flooding.  Regions in the Midwest are more apt to see tornadoes,  the north is subject to severe weather conditions, and coastal regions having their own set of probable events such as hurricanes. No matter where you live plan for the unexpected as well as expected.

Once you have crafted your plan, it’s now time to practice. Practice your plan every 3 to 6 months depending on what you’re comfortable with; although, the more you practice the better your chances of survival will be.  Operational Checks are something that should be done during practice sessions as well.  For example, make sure the batteries work in your flashlights and fire extinguisher is still functional. Let’s look at some basic home safety tips and the art making a simple grab bag.

Home Base

Fireproof safes are a good investment. They have them in all shapes, forms, and sizes.  They can be used to store important documents, old pictures, legal documents, firearms, etc. They can also bolt into a foundation or  be left free-standing.  Let’s take a financial point of view; we can diversify our assets in different places to reduce potential risks.  Safety deposit boxes and relatives homes may be used as secondary places to store important personal information and personal items.  Pictures can be put into an external hard drive, saving favorite memories. The external hard drive is a valuable tool to back up any important work stored on your computer hard drive as well.

Grab Bag (Basic)

(Cloths (One Day supply), Hygiene Kit, Flashlight, Basic Medical Kit,Multi-tool such as a Gerber, 1 to 3 day supply of any current medications)

Grab Bag (Natural Disasters)

(Regional Map, U.S Map, Batteries, Flashlight, Iodine Tablets, Medical Kit, Hand Crank Emergency Radio)

Optional: (GPS, Two-Way Radios, Rope, Nalgene Bottle, Cold Weather Gear)

  • Emergency Radio (Stay Aware. Allows access to the Emergency Alert System)

Grab Bag (Medical)

Medical grab bags can be broken down into four basic components:

  • Short terms supplies
    • Basic Supplies
  • Long terms supplies
  • Trauma
    • (SAM Splint, Tourniquet)
  • Medical
    • (Epipen, Inhaler)

Grab Bag (Car)

(Small Medical Kit, Rubber gloves, Roadside Flares, Glow Sticks, Bungee Cords, Small Tow Rope, Jumper Cables, Safety Hammer, Puncture Seal,  Tape, Multi-tool such as a Gerber, Poncho, Small Blanket, Collapsible Road Cones, Small Fire Extinguisher)

Optional: Small Gas Can (Filled), Any other applicable car fluids

Other Disaster Considerations

At least a three-day supply of food and water.

Sources & Additional Information

ABC 7 News

FEMA

The Los Angeles Times