by Barry Bookman - Vice-Chair, PEP-C
On April Fools’ Day 1979, FEMA was created. – seriously.
For years the government has been encouraging people to prepare. Since May 2011 even FEMA has been advising people to prepare for the zombie apocalypse! Of course, they are having fun teasing “preppers” but their advice is good. Google “FEMA zombie apocalypse” – I kid you not!
PEP-C members have been advising people to prepare in general, but we’ve been emphasizing preparing for the “big one”, a large earthquake involving the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Washington has had a “big one” about every 300 years. The next big quake could strike this hour, or not at all. Scientists just don’t know.
There are many types of disasters that could happen, from natural to man-made. If you are well prepared for an earthquake, you will be well prepared for other events. The coronavirus is different than an earthquake in that infrastructure is intact and the grocery supply chain is largely uninterrupted. In a large scale natural disaster the roads may be impassable, utilities will be down and infrastructure and supply chains would be down, possibly for months. The government will eventually get food and supplies to us, but until they do, we are on our own!
If folks had three weeks supply prepping for earthquakes, they probably would not be panicking, would have more patience, and stores would have enough supplies for all. Preparing is like putting money in the bank for a rainy day!
Since it is recommended we avoid large groups, and many are staying home, use the opportunity to get to know your neighbors – from a safe social distance of course! Get to know what their strengths and vulnerabilities are and how you can help each other. In time of true disaster, your local community will be critical to you and your family’s survival, and perhaps you to theirs.
Use this event as a learning experience. Ask yourself what you didn’t have and what you could have used more of. Then when you shop, buy a little extra each time. Store it someplace dark, cool, dry and rodent-proof. Store as much water as you can – at least one gallon per-person per day. PEP-C sells 55 gallon food grade barrels for water storage. When you store your water, make certain you treat it. There are many good articles on-line about treating water.
To help prepare residents, PEP-C offers neighborhood training called PC NET. We also host a FEMA program called Map Your Neighborhood (MYN). Both trainings are described on the Pierce County website. You can learn about MYN by watching the YouTube video. The link is provided at the end of this article.
Prepare today for an easier tomorrow!
You’ve got this!
Here are a few informative websites:
Pierce County Dept. of Emergency Management
Pierce County List of Hazards
Pierce County Alert (free, customizable, alerting service)
FEMA and the Zombie Apocalypse
FEMA’s Map Your Neighborhood Video