2018 Disasters in Review, How to Prepare for 2019
At the end of last year, I referred to 2017 as a monolithic disaster year. From Hurricane Maria to Southern California wildfires, we saw an extraordinary amount of damage and chaos due to a wide range of disasters.
2018 has definitely challenged 2017 for that title.
With the recent California wildfires, Hurricane Michael in Florida, and Hurricane Florence on the East Coast, volcanic activity and torrential downpours in Hawaii, and now a 7.0 earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska, I think it’s safe to say that this year hasn’t given Americans much of a break on the disaster front.
In fact, the National Centers for Environmental Information found that as of October 9, in 2018, there had been 11 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States.
These events included 1 drought event, 6 severe storm events, 1 tropical cyclone event, 1 wildfire event, and 2 winter storm events--and that didn’t even include everything else that happened after October 9 (such as the earthquake in Alaska and the California wildfires in November).
As Phys.org reported, “The United States has seen more billion-dollar natural disaster events recently than ever before, with many climate models projecting an increase in intensity and frequency of these events in the future.”
We can lament about the financial and human life toll these disasters have caused. But if we don’t learn from the lessons they have taught us, we won’t be prepared for what may come in 2019.
Ultimately, we should all be prepared for these unexpected emergencies that hit with little to no warning. As you know, My Patriot Supply was born with a passion for helping Americans achieve independence through preparedness and self-reliance. If you’re wondering how to prepare for what may come in 2019, keep reading. Here are five overarching tips to keep in mind as we enter the New Year...
#1: Strengthen community bonds.
From the fires in Southern and Northern California to the recent earthquake in Alaska, we continue to see examples of the power of community.
Families, neighbors, and complete strangers took it upon themselves to help save and support each other amidst danger and tragedy.
Taking the time now to organize and create emergency preparedness plans within your family and neighborhood can make things a lot easier when and if the worst happens.
According to a recent article in The New York Times, “Even if you have a sizable stockpile of supplies, you’re going to need help from other people sooner rather than later” and “most search and rescue after a disaster is done by people in their communities, long before professionals arrive.”
#2: Prepare sooner rather than later.
When it comes to stocking up on food, water, supplies, weapons, and more, waiting until something has happened won’t do you any good. When people are desperate and scared for their lives, it’s common to see grocery stores, drugstores, and other settings resemble a war zone.
Don’t wait until it’s too late and shelves are empty--stock up on all the necessary supplies for survival ASAP. You never know when disaster can strike. Earthquakes strike usually with no warning, and not just in Alaska and California. (We’ll touch on that topic during an upcoming Survival Scout soon.)
#3: Don’t rely on the government for help.
In times of disaster, FEMA and the government are often slow-moving and ineffective.
In fact, in a report evaluating its response to disasters in 2017, The New York Times reported that FEMA itself described “how ill-prepared the agency was to manage a crisis outside the continental United States, like the one in Puerto Rico” and “it urges communities in harm’s way not to count so heavily on FEMA in a future crisis.”
We heard a dire message during interviews several times this year from the current head of FEMA, Brock Long. He has repeatedly urged all Americans to understand three truths:
"FEMA is broke. The system is broken. If this is the new normal, Americans can't rely on a federal cavalry when disaster strikes. They will have to take care of themselves."
Nothing has changed here. We must stay vigilant and prepare. We here at MPS believe that true patriotism is not the expectation that others will care for your needs but that freedom comes from attaining a certain level of self-reliance.
At the end of the day, it’s on you to take it upon yourself to understand how to prepare and get you and your family through the challenges you may face amidst a disaster.
#4: Make sure you and your family have a readiness plan.
The Camp Fire in California was the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history. The fire burned over 153,000 acres, 18,000 structures, and had a death toll of 85 people. Wildfire smoke from the blaze at one point stretched across the country and reached New York City!
Because wildfires are fast-moving, they can often catch people off guard. Therefore, it’s important to have an emergency plan in mind before disaster strikes.
In the case of fires, plan an evacuation route--have a clear idea of where to go and how to get there. Keep in mind that everyone else will be using the roads to get out while emergency personnel will be using the roads to get in. Therefore, make sure to evacuate early, and don’t risk waiting too long.
Additionally, have two well-stocked emergency supply kits on hand--one in your car, and one at home. You can purchase a pre-assembled one from My Patriot Supply. If you assemble one with items you have around your home, make sure it includes…
- Water--at least enough to last each family member for a minimum of three days
- Food--enough nonperishable food to last for three days
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Tools (such as wrench and pliers) to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
#5: Have water filtration solutions at the ready.
Anchorage, Alaska, just recently displayed the damage of a 7.0 earthquake. With crumbled roads and splintered buildings, the city was completely caught off guard.
As dramatic as this earthquake was, they were relatively lucky. An earthquake of the same magnitude could have happened in a number of other U.S. cities with even worse consequences.
For example, a recent study found that, if an earthquake on par with that of the one that hit Anchorage were to hit Seattle, it would cripple the drinking water system servicing 1.4 million people, causing Seattle to lose all water pressure within 24 hours of the quake.
It would take at least two months to return all of the water services to the city, and to restore "pre-earthquake reliability and service levels to SPU's water system," it would likely take years.
Humans can’t survive and maintain optimal health for very long without safe drinking water. To prepare for these situations, it’s of the utmost importance to have your own water filtration system at home, such as the Alexapure Pro Water Filtration System.
Will 2019 rival 2018 when it comes to natural disasters? Only time will tell. In the meantime, keep these five tips in mind as we enter the New Year.
And bear in mind that many of these preparedness lessons extend beyond natural disasters. Man-made disasters such as economic downturns/collapse and civil unrest can lead to similar limiting conditions.
Regardless of the exact situation, stay vigilant in your quest to remain prepared for the worst-case scenarios. We’re always standing by to help with a simple call to 866.229.0927.
Stay alert, and use the calmer days you may have now to prepare.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply
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