Preparedness for Natural Disasters
The many advances of science have
sheltered modern people from many of the fickle deeds of nature which would
have brought vast inconvenience to our ancestors – or even laid them in their
graves in the thousands. As just one example, snow plows, paved roads, modern
communications, oil furna
ces, insulated houses, and a massive infrastructure
have made us nearly immune to typical
blizzards which would have been extremely
dangerous to people just a century a half ago.
A local drought, which would have once threatened hundreds or thousands of
people with starvation, now has no effect whatsoever on the food stocks on the
shelves of supermarkets, brought in from far afield by trains and refrigerated
trucks. Many of the casual menaces of nature to human survival have been
vanquished by the steady strengthening of technology.
Nevertheless, there are aspects of Nature which remain far stronger than man,
and whose might makes the most complex and powerful technological systems seem
as impotent as toys of straw. The onrush of a
hurricane, heaving the skirts of
the sea onto the land in powerful storm surges while the winds tear apart
trees, roofs, and lightly-built structures with equal ease – the thunderous
blast of a volcano, strewing dust and fire across the land and bringing night
in the midst of day – the sudden violence of a
tornado, projecting from the
base of a thunderhead like the trunk of some ghastly, sky-high elephant – all
of these phenomena, and many more, remain much stronger than man, and still
present an immediate threat to the life and limb those who live in even the
most sophisticated nations of the world.
can take many forms. Flooding, for example, can still sweep
away the incautious or unlucky, and drown them under tons of brown,
debris-laden water. Furthermore, flooding can cut roads, knock out electric
power, and leave people stranded on their roofs or in the upper floors of their
houses for days, and possibly longer.
Wildfire is another threat that is difficult to control even with the most
advanced techniques – a fully-developed firestorm can reduce millions of
dollars worth of houses to ashes in a few hours, and may continue burning for
weeks until changes in the weather help firefighters put it out.
Tsunamis can strike coastal areas with devastating effect. Not only is there
the risk of being pummeled to death by a hurtling wall of water weighing
millions of tons, but the lingering effects of the wave are nearly as menacing.
Sewage, corpses, and all kinds of filth can be swept into local water supplies,
which may be the only water available due to the severing of roads and the
blocking of lines of escape by wreckage and debris. Large
blizzards can still
threaten people in several ways – especially those attempting to use the road
during the storm.
Surviving a natural disaster is not something that should be taken for granted,
even in this day of detailed
weather forecasting, rescue helicopters, and
refrigeration. The elemental forces that surround us still have the potential
to suddenly shatter our tranquil daily round and plunge us into an older world
of fighting for immediate survival. There is no area of the world that is
completely immune to these forces, and so there is nobody who should not have
some kind of plan in place for surviving such a catastrophic event.
Equipment to keep you warm, ways to get fresh water, supplies of canned or
, extra medicine and medical supplies, are all excellent things to
have on hand just in case. You are unlikely to need them – but if the worst
happens and you do end up needing them, you will need them very badly, so for
your own safety and that of your family, it is best to prepare for
well in advance.