Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us

by Dave Robinson

Dave Robinson

Building Skills For Disaster Prep
Originally published October 12, 2013

Some folks have the misconception that being prepared is all about having your pantry full. No doubt about it, that’s important, but other things are equally vital. Any prepper website can give you a checklist of equipment you’re going to “need” in a disaster. And while equipment can be useful, if you don’t have the skills to use your gear, it is of no value. No off-the-shelf kit will contain everything you need to survive, in fact most of the tools you need for survival are between your ears.

In this week’s column we’re going to look at some skills that you may need in the event of a major earthquake, a big wind storm or a prolonged period of below-freezing weather. First, a working knowledge of carpentry skills is basic. When a major earthquake strikes, structural damage to your home will be a given. Whether the roof caves in or just a few windows are broken, plan on being on your own for repairs. Basic tools, some plywood and maybe a few 2 x 4s are going to come in handy when you need to make quick repairs. Following that, some PVC fittings, glue and an extra piece or two of pipe will make for a quick plumbing fix. Pipes usually burst at the most awkward times and never when the hardware store is open nor the plumber available.

Our most frequent disaster here on the South Coast is the winter wind storm. Trees are blown down, sometimes across power lines, sometimes across our driveway and sometimes even across our houses. If you own a chainsaw, then keep it sharp, fueled and ready to go at a moment’s notice. If you’re not familiar with its use, go practice with it. You’d be surprised at how many people own equipment but have never gotten familiar with it.

First aid skills are always in need during a disaster. What you know may save a life, maybe even your own or that of a family member. Now’s a great time to upgrade your knowledge. Check out the training available on www.redcross.org. Take a look at your first aid kit, make sure it’s well-stocked.

If you lack skills, then it is important you connect with your neighbors and combine your energies. I’m willing to bet there’s someone in your neighborhood that has the skills you may lack. Mapping your neighborhood will not only help you get acquainted, but will combine the skills and knowledge of your neighbors in the event of a disaster. If you want more information on Mapping Your Neighborhood, contact me by email and I will forward information to you helpful in getting organized.

Finally, a product review. I recently “bit” on an advertisement called “Family Survival System.” A very slick video presentation offered a book promising to be the ultimate in disaster preparedness information and survival information. The video presentation claims the author is a military man (Army) and he purports to be an expert on the topic. I clicked on the “purchase” button and invested $37.00, hoping to expand my library for research and information. What I received is an electronic book downloaded to my computer. Printing it off, I have a 41 page booklet of basic prepper/survival topics. I find the booklet to be poorly written, shallow and lacking in the “meat” for which I was hoping. Furthermore, there were two free publications offered, but when I downloaded the book, those links disappeared and I have been unable to locate them again. So save your money and simply research this blog instead. Besides, its free. As always, send your comments and questions to disasterprep.dave@gmail.com.

Note: Dave Robinson is Bandon's Postmaster and has worked for the postal service for 30 years. He has a background in law enforcement, served in the Air Force in Vietnam, worked nine years for the Coos County Sheriff's Department, and serves on the Myrtle Point School Board, where he lives.

additional columns by Dave Robinson