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What Does Hurricane Katrina Teach Us About Disaster Preparedness?

24 Nov

There are some important lessons that individuals and families must learn about disaster and disaster preparedness from Hurricane Katrina. Learning these lessons can help your family survive and prosper.

Lesson 1) Don’t expect immediate aid from the government. If Hurricane Katrina taught us anything is that it takes time for government to respond. Politics, bureaucracy and simple logistics can delay aid or help for days or even weeks. This means that you should not assume that government will take care of you or help you after a disaster. Be prepared to fend for yourself or seek help from friends, family and neighbors.

Lesson 2) Do it yourself. Since government won’t help you, you should be prepared to take action to keep yourself and your family safe after a disaster. This could mean keeping basic supplies such as food that doesn’t need refrigeration, bottled water and fuel for cooking in your home. It could also mean evacuating an area at the first sign of a disaster. Many people suffered needlessly in New Orleans because they sat around waiting for government help rather than taking action themselves.

Lesson 3) Be prepared to help others. Since it takes time for government to respond you will have to be prepared to help friends, family, neighbors and others. In particular you may have to help elderly, handicapped persons, the poor and others. If you’re evacuating an area make sure that elderly neighbors can get out. If you have space in your car, give them a ride. Don’t assume that government or somebody else is going to help others if you see someone in distress try and help them. Many people died in New Orleans because their friends or neighbors thought the government would do something.

Lesson 4) Be prepared to get out. Much of the worst suffering in New Orleans occurred because people were not prepared to leave the city quickly. If you live in a disaster prone area create an evacuation plan. Make sure that your vehicle is in good running order and you have extra gasoline available. Also bring food and water along and have a place to go to. Have an evacuation plan before you go. Try to avoid taking major highways in an evacuation because these often get blocked by traffic jams. Make sure that all family members are accounted for and make sure that elderly friends, family members and neighbors can get out.

 
 

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