|Issue #96 • November/December, 2005|
Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath said what I could not have said convincingly in ten thousand words: The government cannot protect you in a major emergency. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a hurricane, a terrorist attack, or a burglar breaking into your home in the dead of night. It does not matter whether it’s a Republican or Democrat in the White House. In the end, you—and only you—have the power to protect yourself and your family when everything is on the line. To assume otherwise is to dangle your family into the swirling caldron of unpredictable Nature, terrorists, and criminals.
This is not a revelation for long-time readers of this magazine. BHM’s message for many years has been the same: To keep yourself and your family safe in an emergency, prepare now for both stay-at-home and sudden-evacuation emergencies. We even produced a book on the subject called the Emergency Preparedness and Survival Guide.
But you’d think from watching the TV coverage and reading all the media hysterics about Hurricane Katrina that the United States had just suffered some sort of cataclysmic failure in our political structure because the Government wasn’t there quick enough to rescue all the victims of the floods.
Huh? Does the media live in Disneyland? Of course I realize a lot of the coverage was just the left leaning media trying to make their arch enemy, President Bush, look bad. In an effort to put lefties back in power in the White House and Congress at some point in the future, they’ll gladly mislead the public into thinking Government could have and should have rescued all the victims of the hurricane and ensuing flooding.
But here’s the awful truth: If a major disaster, such as another category 4 or 5 hurricane, or a major terrorist attack with, say, a dirty bomb, occurs again, unprepared people will suffer terribly just as the unprepared people of New Orleans suffered terribly. Government, at all levels, is simply not organized (it’s run by bureaucracies, for God’s sake) or equipped to respond quickly to large emergencies. Eventually, if you are still alive after several days or a couple of weeks, and if criminal thugs haven’t found you first, some Government or volunteer rescuer will probably find you and give you some minimal help.
In the meantime, you must be able to take care of yourself for several days to several weeks if a major emergency hits. And you may even have to take care of yourself even longer. What if the Avian Flu mutates, as some health officials fear, and becomes a major deadly pandemic? You and your family may have to hole up in your house for a couple of months to avoid becoming infected.
Whether you have to grab your 72-hour pack and leave your home, or you have to hole up where you are until the emergency passes, you can be reasonably comfortable and safe if you are prepared. It means having some obvious things like water, food, and a method of communication, and it means having some things you might overlook, such as a generator and a gun for protection against thugs. We’ve run so many articles in the past on the subject that I couldn’t begin to summarize in this short column what you should consider. But it’s all contained in our Emergency Preparedness and Survival Guide book.
The book is 300 pages long and I’ve got 10,000 of them sitting on a shelf in my office. We also have a companion CD-ROM, called the EPSG CD-ROM, that is 390 pages. Both are superb reads and very comprehensive on how to plan for an emergency, including detailing what emergencies you might have to plan for. If you want to get some extra books or CD-ROMs for your friends and relatives, we’ve got an ad on page 2 of this issue that will show you how to do so relatively inexpensively.
Hurricane Katrina and the inability of Government at any level to respond in a timely, life-saving manner should set off alarm bells in our heads. If you want to protect yourself and your family, don’t follow the advice of the media or opportunistic politicians by voting for a new set of politicians and asking Government to spend billions of dollars on various projects. That won’t do it.
Take your life into your own hands and plan to take care of yourself and your family in an emergency situation. You, any only you, can become the timely power that will save your family when disaster strikes.