Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us

by Dave Robinson

Dave Robinson

Originally published April 20, 2012

Those who prowl the websites, forums and blogs of other preppers will find an entire subculture of otherwise normal people. People who have elevated disaster preparedness to a science or an alternative lifestyle. Terms such as “bugging-out” or “T.E.O.T.W.A.W.K.I.” are common lingo. Discussions about firearms, pickup loads of ammo and fortified hidey-holes somewhere in the mountains are concepts routinely bandied about.

Bugging out is also referred to as evacuating. (You remember that from watching all those reruns of M.A.S.H.) T.E.O.T.W.A.W.K.I. is short for “The End Of The World As We Know It.” Evacuation is only necessary when it is imminently likely that your humble abode will no longer be “abode-able”. Maybe your house is on fire, maybe there is a wildfire on the way, or maybe Hurricane Katrina is bearing down on you. Or as some experienced just recently, the rains have swollen the streams to the point where your home is in imminent flood danger and you are ordered to evacuate.

T.E.O.T.W.A.W.K.I. can occur through natural disaster, economic or societal meltdown, coronal mass ejections (solar storms) or simply the expiration of the Mayan calendar.

Some experts suggest the need for three evacuation plans. A 60 second plan, a one hour plan and a twelve hour plan. So let’s pretend you wake in the middle of the night with the smell of smoke in your house. After much panic, screaming and frantic rushing about, (not to mention R-rated language) you get your family and pets out of the house, hopefully without injury. That’s an example of the need for a 60 second plan. I have a theory that the panic and screaming factor will be reduced in direct correlation to how much planning you have done.

On the other hand if the authorities tell you a wildfire is headed your way or the flood waters are rising and you have one hour to get out, you still need a plan. Again, more planning equals less panic and screaming, which equals less stress on the marriage. What to take, what to leave behind, who to notify and oh yes, where to go. When considering where to go, consider this, there is a term for someone who leaves their home with hopes of escaping to some unknown place of ‘better-ness’. They’re called refugees.

The 12 hour plan is also known as the “Just in Case” plan. “C’mon honey lets gas up the car, and stock up on toilet paper, just in case.” This also gives you time to sit down, make a list, (if you don’t already have one) empty the fridge, unplug your big screen TV, your computer and even flip the master breaker switch on your panel. But then those things should already be in your plan. All in all, we can diminish the damage from a natural disaster and better our chances of survival by simply taking some time to “Make a Plan.”

Next time we’ll talk about getting your vital documents scanned and stored safely. As always if you have any questions or comments you may contact me at 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