Tuesday, September 06, 2005

How Preparedness Could Have Helped Untold Numbers

Some would question how anyone could have been prepared for Katrina and its aftermath, particularly if they were near the coast where landfall was made.

My simple answer is that someone who was "prepared" would have had an understanding of and respect for the threat significance, and they would have previously developed the mindset of doing whatever was right and necessary to deal with the danger. And no, we're not talking heroic last stands here ... indeed, quite the opposite.

Bugging Out

Many who are prepared for crises of all kinds know that they could one day be faced with the need to quickly escape their home or neighborhood. "Getting out of Dodge" is commonly called "bugging out."

There are those who have elaborate bug-out plans with predetermined destinations and multiple routes mapped out if needed to avoid traffic bottlenecks. As important, most have some sort of "go bags" or bug-out bags (BOBs) at the ready with many essentials inside to ensure that they are not suddenly in a refugee status with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Yet as critical as that groundwork is, it is the attendant mental preparedness that would have perhaps been most critical in a case such as that faced by gulf coast residents before Katrina came ashore. I'm not talking about mental toughness or practiced Marine Corps-like resilience here. I'm simply referring to the fact that those who had given some prior thought to a potential need to leave their homes and belongings behind would NOT have had to wrestle at great length with the prospect under stress and urgent notice. In short, their readiness would have inspired positive decisiveness.

Mental Preparation Did Save Lives

I know of many "prepared" people from the area of Katrina's devastation who did indeed live to tell of their experience. They were not people who chose to stay at home. They were folks who had long ago realized some untold event could force them to flee their house and belongings.

Being ready with maps and BOBs did not make the choice easy ... but when authorities were adamantly warning that Katrina was going to be a disaster of the greatest magnitude, what else was there to do but to accept that this was what they had known could happen, though they certainly would not have ever wished for it.

With as much fear and reluctance as everyone else throughout the region, they swallowed their regrets and grabbed what they could and left. As a result, they lived, though certainly many of them lost everything that was left behind.

Of some importance, I believe--to this point, I personally know of no preppers in the area who died in the tragedy.

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