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Being Prepared: How You Can Increase Your Odds of Survival

 

Are you prepared?

From bee stings to car accidents, danger lurks around every corner.  Yet you may think that it is ridiculous to maintain an emergency or survival kit.  If so, read on, it just might increase your chances of survival.

Getting Prepared

There are many excuses given for not properly preparing for potential disasters.  You may have heard some of them, or even used them yourself:

"It can't happen to me."

"I don't have the money right now."

"I don't think the world is going to end anytime soon."

"Prepping is just for crazy people."

 According to FEMA

  • 60% of Americans do not practice what to do in a disaster.  
  • Only 39% of Americans have developed and discussed an emergency plan with their household.

This means that the majority of people are not doing something basic to help prepare for disasters.  Disaster drills only take a few minutes and cost nothing to you.  

You may be thinking, "I live in an area that isn't disaster prone, what do I need to prepare for?"  However, 8/10 people live in a county that has been hit with a weather-related disaster.  

Let's look at this probability another way:

You walk into a casino and up to the first table you see.  

You are given two options - bet on one and have an 80% chance of winning, or bet on two and have only a 20% chance Poker Chipsof winning.  

Did you pick the first one?  If so, congratulations, you've just given yourself a reason to get prepared.  

Weather-related disasters have a high probability of occurring, so it makes sense that you should bet that they will occur, and take the necessary steps to get prepared.

Hopefully you have now come to the conclusion that you need to start preparing.  

Your next questions may be:  

  • "Preparing for what, exactly?"
  •  "What do I need?"
  •  "How do I get it?"  
  • And finally, "I'm prepared, how does this help me?"  
Read on to find the answers to these questions.

What Do I Prepare For?

What exactly do you need to prepare for?  It depends in part where your live and what you believe may happen in the future.  

At a minimum, you should prepare for the natural disasters that are likely to occur in your area, as well as for other emergencies that have a higher probability of occurring.  Each state has its own disasters that are more likely to occur than others.  

While going through each one is beyond the scope of this post, we can look regionally so you have an idea of what you should prepare for:

West Coast

If you live on the west coast, chances are you are well aware of earthquakes.  Even minor earthquakes can cause injuries, if items are not secured properly.  Major earthquakes can cause structural damage to buildings, sometimes resulting in a collapse.  
WildfireEmergency preparedness involves securing your items, developing a plan, and having a survival kit in case of entrapment.  

In addition to earthquakes, west coasters also frequently have to deal with wildfires.  Wildfires can destroy 100's of acres and displace many people from their homes.  

Preparing for such a disaster involves developing an emergency plan and going over it with your family.  You should also have a survival kit that you can quickly grab in the event you need to evacuate.

North and Northeast

Snow and ice.  If you live in this region, you know you get plenty of it.  Those who have never experienced large quantities of snow and ice may think its harmless.  

However, the extreme cold can lead to frostbite, ice makes travel dangerous, and snow can cause roofs to collapse.  In addition, power outages frequently occur due to ice on power lines.Snow 

So how do you prepare for such an event?  Make sure you have plenty of food and water, as travel will be difficult.  Keep an emergency kit on hand.  

If you lose power, it is much easier to grab a kit with your supplies than it is to search for a flashlight, then search for the rest of your supplies.

Central and Midwest

Probably best known for its storms.  If you live in this region, you have likely experienced Tornadotornadoes and flooding.  As with all emergency preparedness, it helps to have a plan in place.  

Talk with your family about your plan, and practice tornado drills.  You should also have an emergency kit that you can quickly grab and bring with you to your shelter area.  

If you live in a flood prone area, you may be required to evacuate.  It is beneficial to maintain an emergency kit that you can take with you.  Remember to never drive through floodwaters, even if you don't think the water is deep.

South and Southeast

Hurricanes.  According to NOAA, the United States experiences approximately 7 hurricanes every four years with 3 major hurricanes every five years.  

40% of hurricanesHurricane have hit Florida and 80% have hit either Florida or Texas.  

If you live in the south or southeast, you need to be prepared for the inevitable hurricane.  As with any emergency scenario, you should ensure that you have an emergency plan in place and have rehearsed it with your family.  Prepare an emergency kit and adjust it to fit your particular situation.

What Do I Need?

Every situation is different.  If you live on the east coast, what you will need is different from someone living on the west coast.  In addition, your specific situation will be unique from anyone else.  

For instance, you may be required to take medication that your neighbor isn't.  Ultimately, how you build your survival kit will be up to you.  

However, there are several basics you will need.  

These include...

  • food
  • water
  • fire
  • first aid
  • shelter
  • light
  • communication.  
A great post at the Art of Manliness details all the items you need to build a 72 hour emergency kit.  

 

Just having an emergency kit will not be enough.  You also need to prepare an emergency plan.  You will want to go over it with your family, and make sure your kids are involved.  

Your plan should include ways to communicate with your family, whether you are all together or separated.  You will also need plans for when you are sheltering in place as well as for when you need to evacuate.    

How Do I Get It?

You've wisely made the decision that you need an emergency kit and you know what you need for it.  So how do you go about getting it together?  

You have two options, buy a prepackaged survival kit or build one yourself.  Each has its advantages and disadvantages, which we have gone over here.  

Your decision will depend on your time Compact Survival Kitcommitment, knowledge, and budget.  

If you choose to go the prepackaged route, you can find kits at local retailers and online.  

If you choose to build your own, you will have to find sources for each item you want to add to your kit.  You can find these at local retail stores, such as Bass Pro Shops or Walmart, or online at Amazon.  

Regardless of the direction you choose, it is important to start preparing now.

How Has This Helped Me?

 You've read this far and now you may be wondering how all this has helped you.  Does being prepared and maintaining an emergency kit really increase your chances of survival?  

It is difficult to quantify your probability of survival based on your level of preparedness alone, as the statistics are not readily available.  However, looking at information from WHO, we can get a general idea:  

An extreme case involves the addition of emergency warning systems to the Cox's Bazaar regions of southeast Bangladesh.  This region experienced a strong cyclone in 1991, and a stronger one in 1997.  

The first cyclone resulted in a death toll of 138,000. After implementing the system, the cyclone in 1997 killed on 127 people.  

As a result of Dicethe emergency system, the probability of being killed as a result of a cyclone was reduced from 6.9% to 0.006%.  

While other factors (time of day, tide level, etc.) were beneficial in reducing the number of deaths, emergency preparedness was a critical component in the reduction.

By committing yourself to a life of preparedness, you will not only boost your own chances of survival, but also that of your community.  

Have you taken the steps to prepare for disasters in your area?  If so, do you feel more confident that you can handle emergencies when they happen?  Let us know in the comments below.  Also, make sure to sign up for our newsletter for exclusive tips and discounts.

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