Top 10 Myths About Disasters
1. Once Someone Survives a Catastrophe, They Are Safe
While the immediate incident kills quickly, there are other challenges that face the survivors. Disease, lack of food, clean water and shelter can cause major health hazards. One of the best ways to combat an epidemic is to make sure there is clean water and adequate sanitation. Dysentery and cholera can result from contaminated water.
2. The Government Will Help Us
In most countries there is no such thing as insurance and in the United States having insurance cannot solve all of your problems. Emergency response organizations cannot be everywhere at one time so it is important for people to become as self-reliant as possible.
3. Most Plane Crashes are Fatal
Most plane crashes are survivable because of the improvements that have been made over the past 20 years.
- The wall that separates first class from coach is now 25-30 inches further so that passengers won’t be thrown against the seats in front of them in case of a sudden stop
- Cabin floors are stronger where the seats are attached
- Seat tracks have been strengthened
- Door handles are easier to open
- Evacuation slides deploy immediately when the door is opened
4. Send Supplies, Clothes, Medicine, etc.
This is not a good idea for many reasons. One, it takes administrative energy and monetary resources to gather and ship these items. It is important to be sure there is someone at the other end that will be receiving these items and will be able to allocate them to where they need to go. Often times it is best just to send money to a well recognized charitable organization.
5. People Who Survive Are Happy That They Did
You may think that people who survive a disaster would feel lucky to be alive. This is not always true because they may wonder why they survived and not their loved one.
6. People Are Helpless
As we have seen in Haiti, Katrina and 911, all people are not helpless in the wake of a disaster or helpless in the fact that they can learn from the tragedy and formulate their own plans in preparation for future incidents. The United States has improved on its tougher building codes, disaster preparedness and early warnings.
7. Only authorities should have access to plans
It is important that communities have access to what the plans are. Most communities have a Local Emergency Planning Committee that can share the plans that are being made for most incidents that are occurring in that geographical location.
8. People Behave Badly During a Crisis
For the most part people behave in benevolent ways. Some stop to help each other and offer any assistance that they can. It is important for people to have something to do during a disaster and feel like they are contributing and not becoming part of the bigger problem.
9. Disasters Are Equal Opportunists
Disasters affect the poor harder because the poor are more likely to live in an area without building codes. Houses are constructed poorly and water systems may not be adequate to begin with. All of this is compromised drastically during a disaster.
10. Everything Will Be Back to Normal In a Few Weeks
The effects of a disaster last a long time. The financial resources of the disaster location are depleted, social and mental health problems will increase because acute care has stopped and people are left to deal with repairing their lives on their own. Infrastructure will need to be rebuilt to supply uncontaminated water, shelter and income producing employment.