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The Preparedness Mindset

Mental preparation is a key to successfully surviving a major disaster. Just as athletes can improve their performance by mentally rehearsing their actions before a sports event, you can improve your performance in a disaster by reviewing your options and plans before you need them. You can do this by playing out various scenarios in your head, analyzing your options and projecting your actions. Consider the following:

  • While you're stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, imagine what you would do if a major earthquake struck. Where would you go? What would you do?

  • While you're at work, think what you would do if a recently fired employee returned a little bit drunk and spewing verbal threats. Though he owns a gun, you don't see one on him. But, what would you do? How would you react in this situation?

  • While you're on vacation, or traveling out of town, think about what you would do if your car broke down and you were stranded. Or what would you do if the area you're in were suddenly inundated by a flash flood? What would you do and where would you go?

  • Next time you go into a mini-mart to pay for gas and pick up some milk, imagine what would happen if the customer in front of you pulled a gun on the cashier. What would you do?

Part of developing a preparedness mindset is a constant awareness of your situation as well as an awareness of what your immediate options are. Use the following guide to evaluate your level of awareness:

  • Totally Unaware that the world is an unpredictable place and that, at any moment, with little or no warning, you could face a man-made or natural disaster, you suffer from the misguided belief that the government will protect you and keep you safe. You also suffer from the misguided belief that, whatever it is, it won't happen to you.

  • Aware and Responseable individuals admit that the veneer of normalcy could be eradicated at any given moment. They have therefore started to make preparations for the survival of themselves and loved ones. They monitor the news for weather-related events and potential civil unrest as well as traffic conditions and bridge closures.

  • Aware and Prepared individuals have done their homework and are aware of the potential disasters they face at home, at work and abroad. They have prepared a Family Disaster Plan, executed the necessary preparedness measures and attend to the details of maintaining their plans and supplies.

Once you have developed a preparedness mindset, you will realize that preparedness is elusive. Can you ever be prepared enough for the unforeseen and unexpected? Probably not. But if preparedness is a mindset and an on-going way of life, you'll have resources and options at your disposal before, during and after a major disaster that will increase your odds of survival and level of health and comfort.