Oh No! What Now? Tips for Taking Charge After a Disaster

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volcano disaster“Oh no! Now what?  A calamity has just occurred in my area and what do I do?  I know that I have prepared an emergency kit and can survive for a week or two but what do I do now?  I am confused and can’t think.  Help me!”

Although this is a fictional scenario, those might likely be the thoughts that run through your mind following an earthquake, a hurricane, a flood, a wildfire or other calamity.  And while you may think that the likelihood of such a disaster landing on your doorstep is low, it could happen.

So what do you do?  Today I would like to share some tips and possible solutions to the “Oh No – What Now?” dilemma.

Take Stock of the SituationGraffiti of the word cope next to an animal face

• Are you and your family safe? Can you keep yourselves warm, fed, and out of harm’s way?  Remember, being prepared for a disaster is part of your basic responsibility. If you’ve been caught unprepared, this will be more of a challenge than if you’re able to be completely self-sufficient.

• If you are OK inside your home, determine what the conditions are outdoors.  Is it safe to go outside or should you shelter in place?

•  Do you have a way to let family and loved ones outside of your home know that you’re safe?  What communication systems are functional (telephone, cell phone, texting, internet, shortwave radio)?

• Are you are facing a true emergency or do you need help immediately?  If you are OK, place a sign in your window or on your door that say’s “OK”.  If you need help, put up a sign that says “HELP” or “INJURED”.

Prepare Your Mindset

• Assume that you are going to be on your own for a while. Local public services will be overwhelmed and you should only look to them for help in true life or death emergencies. Don’t call 911 to ask for information, report power outages, or to pass on info that isn’t life or death in nature.

• Plan to subsist on your stored food and supplies.  If the situation is dire, transportation systems and power will systems will be only marginally functional.  The shelves of the stores – if the stores are open, that is – will be empty within hours.

• Disasters bring out the best and the worst in people. Be patient with those who don’t respond well, and work hard to ensure that your own response is positive and constructive.

• After a disaster, there’s a natural tendency to blame someone for the event. Remember, usually disasters are no one’s fault, and are an unavoidable part of simply living in our world. Focus on the things you can control such as helping your community heal, staying positive, and moving forward.

Roll with the punches and make the best of a bad situation.  Stay secure in the knowledge that things can only get better.

Help Others in Your Community

neighbors helping after a disaster• Check on your neighbors. Are they OK?  Is there anything you can do help them out?

• If you belong to a church or service organization, volunteer to help with any efforts they coordinate.  Staying involved with like minded people will insure that your time and energy is put to the best use.

• There’s a lot of adrenaline flowing after a disaster.  If you feel overwhelmed, do not be afraid to take a deep breath or two, and reassess the situation.  Keep in mind that in the rush to help, well intentioned people in can end up causing more confusion than they intended.

• Respect others for their efforts and understand that it may take a while for a community to make use of all of the help offered. Don’t get frustrated if your assistance isn’t immediately accepted. And also do not get frustrated if other volunteers seem less skilled than you are.

The Final Word

The recent cluster of earthquakes in southern California has me a bit worried that the Pacific Northwest is next.  Geologists say we are overdue – that is a fact.  As prepared as I am, I still worry that in the panic of a crisis event, I will be impotent to act.  The purpose of today’s article is as much for me as it is for you.  It is a reminder that I need to have a level head so that I can act responsibly after a disaster.

Take stock, jump in to the mindset and help others.  Those are words that will translate into action with the big one occurs.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


From the Bargain Bin:  Today I present a small selection of popular items the I consider survival essentials when preparing to cope with a disaster or other calamity.

Kaito Voyager Solar Dynamo Weather Radio: This one has it all and a very reasonable price given its features.  It will operate from any one of four different power sources including hand crank and solar and includes a radio, lantern, cell phone charger and more.  It can be used with 3 AA batteries or an optional AC adapter.  It is perfect for receiving NOA alerts and the LED flashlight on its side turns into a flashing red SOS for emergencies.  There is even a USB port for charging a cell phone.  About $50.  A good alternative is the Etón American Red Cross Self-Powered Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger.

Rothco Type III Commercial Paracord: You can get 100 feet of  Survival Gear Checklist   15 Items to Get You StartedParacord for about $8. This is a real bargain but be aware that price can vary substantially depending on the color.

Uniden Bearcat 200-Channel Portable Scanner: A hand scanner with ham band for less than $100. Very portable.

Fiskars 7855 8-Inch Hatchet Disaster Denial: The Fiskars products are easily sharpened and will last a lifetime. For less than $25, what is not to like? Oh, and while you are at it, you might also like the Fiskars Axe & Knife Sharpener Disaster Denial for an additional $10.

Cyalume SnapLight Chemical Light Sticks: Read all about light sticks at Lighting Your Way With Chemical Lighting.

Emergency Shelter Tent: The Emergency Tent is a lightweight and compact emergency shelter. It is wind and waterproof and easy to set up and is roomy enough for two people. Less than $10.

Purell Sanitizing Wipes: These are the wipes I currently use. I personally called the manufacturer and confirmed that they have a two-year shelf life. This is an important consideration when purchasing hand sanitizers.

Emergency Essentials Strawberries (Custom)Yumm . . . strawberries. This month Emergency Essentials is featuring 28% off on their Freeze-Dried Strawberries. These are the real thing, naturally sweet with with no sweeteners or additives. A #10 can is now $14.99 instead of the normal $20.95.

Other items on sale this month include Apple Pieces, the 12-Can Baking Combo, Butter Powder, Peanut Butter Powder and more.

Shop Amazon Tactical – Great Selection of Optics, Knives, Cases, Equipment

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One of the best deals is a dozen cans of chicken for $303.89. THRIVE Freeze Dried Chicken makes a delicious addition to salads, sandwiches, pizzas, casseroles, and more. Here is a link to the Backdoor Survival Shelf Reliance Online Party page.


Oh No! What Now? Tips for Taking Charge After a Disaster — 4 Comments

  1. This is one of the best written articles on the subject that I have seen. Great information.

    I especially liked the “help others in your community” part.


  2. I use the city library system to store my articles-for-study-later. I can’t seem to find a way to mail a copy of your solid “Oh No! What now?” article to my E-mail. Would you, Gaye, (or someone out there in computer-land) be so very gracious as do this? Thank you very much. [Donald] seahorsedonald@yahoo.com

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