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More tips for surviving a disaster

To the Editor:

Great cover story on disaster prep.

We are lucky to have professionals like Hunt, Thiemann and Yeomans; however, your article gives false expectations that these folks will be able to come to the rescue on an as-needed basis. That will not happen. It is up to individuals and families to prepare for a minimum of 72 hours.

As a retired FEMA disaster reservist, I know what people bring to my table. Nothing! Not in Florida, not in New Jersey, not in Texas, not in Missouri. They are fragile and life is in shambles.

Folks don’t realize that:

• Volunteer agencies are first on the scene. When appropriate, they will open shelters and move into the neighborhood with cleaning supplies and food.

• FEMA’s goal is to get you to sanitary, safe surroundings. It will not restore your pre-disaster comforts and comes in only at the request of the governor after many assessments and recommendations.

• Local police and fire will not be rolling in just for you.

• 72-hour of self-care is a minimum. Individuals must be prepared to take care of themselves for weeks.

Go to these resources for packing lists and/or training:

• FEMA.gov

• American Red Cross.org – look for the free app.

• Citizen Emergency Response Training, offered for free by many local police and fire districts.

Preparation should include plans for your car, house, work and a bug-out bag for immediate evacuation.

It is all about taking care of oneself and family and then, reaching out to those who can’t take care of themselves. So, advise folks to get a clean trash can and start filling it with what will keep them safe, sanitary, fed and warm. Get a second container, because folks are thinking, and fill it with comfort items – a Teddy bear, deck of cards, fun food, etc.

None of this is meant to scare folks, but this is real. Individual preparation is a must with no sugar coating and no thinking that help is on the way. Help will be delayed. There are no options.

Susan W. DeWitt

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