Posted by: Donna Cunningham | March 16, 2011

Emergency Preparedness Project–Using a Crisis to Mobilize Yourself

©3-16-11 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

We’re mesmerized by the images of Japan’s destruction on television, and I think it’s hitting home to all of us that a disaster could strike anywhere, anytime. We’ve been having a very productive discussion in the comment section here about the difference between fear mongering and prudent preparation for a possible emergency. 

I believe that taking practical steps and developing a sound family or workplace plan for what you’d do in an emergency is a good antidote to fear–we’re less likely to panic if we know exactly what to do and where to go. 

 The coastal cities here in Oregon were well rehearsed on what to do if a tsunami was expected. After the quake in Japan, they evacuated in a calm, orderly way during the  tsunami watch. 

I got so many helpful ideas from the discussion in the comment section—things I’d never thought of, supplies I’d allowed to disappear in my move last summer. I’m going out shopping for replacements this very day.  

 Bella’s great suggestion was a “go bag,” always packed and near the door with absolute necessities for a rapid emergency evacuation.

It would hold a can opener, flashlight, a few days worth of our medications, some cash, a change of underwear, a radio with batteries—essentials like that.

Let the impetus of those devastating images of Japan spur us into pulling together the things we’d need in case of a crisis.

As a result of this discussion, I asked   Dr. Deborah Bier, one of the leaders in creating an emergency preparedness system for Concord, MA,  to conduct a special Question and Answer Session on practical steps you can take to prepare for an emergency. See it here: Emergency Preparedness—A Q&A Session by Dr. Deborah Bier.

Other articles on this topic:

Some Self-Help tools for Crisis:

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  1. Donna this is really great! I have been a EOC person for many years and people are NOT prepared. May I also add that FEMA has emergency management classes online for free.
    They are called NIMS courses. The courses range from example.. the person who arrives when a child falls off of a bike or for a terrorist attack. Some are for small business etc.. I highly recommend everyone take the appropriate course. Red cross also has great classes but they arent online whereas FEMA is. This gives people and idea of exactly what is happening on any level of emergencys and an understadning why things happen the way they do. LIke why it took so long to get help to Haiti..because you cant send in troops until it is stabalized etc.. Keep up the good work!

  2. Donna, kudos to your community service here.

    Mixing the unexpected with our survival, perhaps emergency preparedness is an apt theme for our exploration of Uranus in Aries in astrology.

  3. Given that I am interrupting a planned Q&A on Uranus, I will attempt to be as Uranian as possible. 🙂

    Debbie, wonderful! What area of the world do live in? Are you called into EOCs for your work?

    • Don’t be modest, Deb! You are one of the most positively Uranian people I know. We’re going to learn a lot from your Q&A session, I am sure.

      I’ve started work on my “go bag,” visiting a Dollar Store today to get needed things like a can opener, wet wipes, pill dispenser, etc.

      One of the things I bought at the health food store was a fresh bottle of Rescue Remedy, a godsend in a crisis, helpful to adults, children, freaked out pets. (See the link to an article about it at the bottom of the post.) Donna

  4. Hi Donna,

    You suggested “a radio with batteries—essentials like that.” Better yet is a radio that can be powered by a hand crank or a solar panel. They are quite popular here in BC, and not very expensive. I also have a sketch book, sketching supplies and a couple of decks of cards in our “bag to go”.

    Thanks for the great work.


  5. Here’s a great link from Homeland Security regarding what everyone should have in their “bug out bag.” But, IMHO, this is not terribly realistic for an end-of the- world scenario. They left out the guns and ammo, medical supples, etc.

  6. When packing an emergency Go Bag, wouldn’t it be best to assume no clean water, no food, no shelter, no power/electricity (no light, heat, refrigeration), no cooking facilities, no plumbing and no medical help for at least 3 days, maybe longer? Wouldn’t those assumptions generate a huge pile of supplies requiring a huge bag? I might be able to pack it, but I’m not sure I could carry it…

    • One packs what one can carry, unless one has a pickup truck. I just got an email from someone saying don’t forget to pack an ephemeris. I think if things were that bad, an ephemeris would be the least of my concerns.

      Although one never knows what goes through the mind of an astrologer. I was in a pretty bad car accident once, and I’m sitting in the ambulance with a head injury, with an oxygen mask on my face, as the jaws of life are trying to pull my friend out of the wreck, and I’m watching anxiously to see if she’s dead or alive. And what I’m doing as I sit there is trying to reconstruct the ephemeris for that day and mentally trying to construct a chart for the accident. So much for normality. Donna

    • My 2 cents would be, buy your supplies from climbing equipment stores. Anything you can think of, they’ve got it and in its most tiny, light, energy-saving version. Fair warning, it’s a bit expensive.

  7. Greetings, I am a fan of as they have many suggestions for evacuation preparation. One is having a copy of all important phone numbers, account numbers, crucial contact info etc. on PAPER in a plastic protective sleeve. Our iPhones may run out of juice so we need to commit that info to more humble form.

  8. Interesting. I live in Douglas County, OR – close to Wildlife Safari if you know what/where that is.

    I’m glad to hear you were well rehearsed in what to do. Over here by I-5 we were told the tsunami response alerts along the coast weren’t well organized and that there was a long way to go. I’M GLAD TO HEAR OF YOUR EXPERIENCE.

    In the event of “the big one”, which many are saying will happen here (not if, but when) even the I-5 area needs to be prepared because we’re told in the event of a 9.0 quake utilities and power could be out for months – even inland along the I-5/Hwy 99 corridor. My church is now in the process of organizing a Community Outreach with disaster preparedness classes, supplies, etc. I’m in contact with both the Chief of Police and Fire Marshall and they’re intrigued and willing to help us.

    You are right. Natural disasters ARE becoming more frequent. I don’t want to just sit back and wait because when disaster strikes it’s too late!

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