Creating a Culture of Preparedness
During this post-9/11 and Hurricane Katrina era, there has been more emphasis placed on government/FEMA preparedness, but the vast majority of Americans have not grabbed onto the need to be prepared at home and at work for potential disasters. One of the harshest lessons learned from recent disasters, especially Katrina, is that you are your own first responder.
We need to prepare ourselves, our families and our homes. In many cases, family and personal preparations can be fairly simple. All it takes is a shift in our thinking. Here’s an easy three-step jumpstart:
Step 1: Have a plan to evacuate;
Step 2: Have an emergency evacuation kit and three days’ supply of food and water on hand at your home; and
Step 3: Have a weather radio or some other means of staying informed. (When Granny's birthday comes around and you’re thinking of giving her one of those silver picture frames with a photo of the kids, give her a weather radio instead).
Of course, on a national scale the task is far more complex. The recent series of disasters in the United States and around the world have demonstrated with startling clarity that we are living in a “new normal.’’ In this new normal, we need a preparedness that is ingrained and intertwined in every part of our daily lives, but is mostly common sense and based in the American spirit.
To create a Culture of Preparedness, we need to focus "left of the disaster," which means investing in preparation. We can start by personally being Red Cross Ready www.redcross.organd making first aid and pandemic prevention and response required courses on a high school and college level.
We need to create a national preparedness plan, with a local civil defense corps. Government has to set standards for institutions like nursing homes and hospitals (they should be evacuated well before the general population). We need dual-trained teachers who can be disaster responders. We need generators in drugstores in each geographical area (if power is lost, people can still get medicine) and gas stations along all interstate highways. We need cell-phone towers that can be lowered before a storm and then raised after the storm.
Will these things be expensive at a time of economic hardship? Of course, but for every $1 spent on preparedness we can save up to $9 in response costs after a disaster.
It's time for America to wake up to this reality. Our task as Americans is to be ready. In this new normal, we have only two options: We can exist in fear and dependency, or we can do the responsible thing and live comfortably in a culture of preparedness.
I hope this Website and my ongoing efforts will help this become reality.
Lieutenant General Russell L. Honore
The Cost of Preparedness versus Response
Is it statistically feasible to calculate the level of resources needed to address a catastrophic flooding incident? Well, that’s the million dollar question; at Praetorian Disaster Supply our sole purpose is to prepare, and respond to the threat of a flood against life, or damage to homes or business. We resolve to get you as close to readiness as possible.
The most important aspects of your focus is to establish a cost benefit analysis; Simply stated, determine the point costs of preparedness begin to outweigh the probable costs of the response; does it cost you more to prepare for an incident or respond to the consequences on taking no action, the answer is almost never the latter.
The term “catastrophic flooding” is generally used to describe the occurrence of exceptional or rare high magnitude floods, unfortunately “rare” is becoming common.
According to the U.S. National Weather Service a general rule-of-thumb for flood forecasting in urban areas is that it takes at least 1 inch (25 mm) of rainfall in an hour's time to start significant ponding of water. The weather service routinely issues Flash Flood Guidance and Headwater Guidance, which indicate the general amount of rainfall that would need to fall in a short period of time in order to cause flash flooding or flooding.
The Private sector shouldn’t wait for government intervention, they should be proactive and provide a framework to address the potentiality or probability of a threat of a devastating flooding incident. The private sector should establish a plan and implement effective measures to protect their business and employees during times of emergencies. In your plan you should determine the resources needed to defend against a flooding incident, an also determine the projected benefit received.
In a recent real world example a local firm had fallen victim to numerous catastrophic flooding incident over the last 30 years; during Hurricane lke they suffered 5 feet of water in their main office management building, the damage cost them months downtime, hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair bills, and lost revenue; their comprehensive lost can easily be calculated in the millions. Although this was catastrophic damage and couldn’t be totally avoided, much of it could have been mitigated and their downtime greatly diminished, they lacked a plan and resources to implement their plan.
Praetorian Disaster Supply provides aqueous solutions to address the effects of flooding on critical infrastructure; we offer a variety of measures that mitigate damage, expedite recovery, and strengthen resiliency.
We are confident that we can protect your facility and sustain your continuity of operations in the event of serious flooding. With the proper resources on-hand, and planning, the effects of flooding can be greatly mitigated and an orderly response achieved. Your operation will withstand a flooding event and rapidly recover.
- Establish a Plan
- Hold resources and equipment in readiness
- Decide at what point your plan will be implemented
- Execute your readiness plan
Know Your Risk
Knowing your level of risk ahead of time will help you make better choices when a storm comes. Visit the Houston Storm Risk Calculator at houstonstormrisk.org to find out what your level of risk is for flooding, storm surge, wind damage and power outages.
If you live in a hurricane evacuation area, know your zone, and be prepared to evacuate when the order is given.
If you don't live in an evacuation area, you most likely would not have to evacuate for a storm, so make preparations early to ride out a storm in your home.
You should be prepared to evacuate or to “shelter in place” for a hurricane. Take a moment to review your emergency plan with your family, as well as make sure you have all the necessary supplies to be able to sustain yourself without electricity and running water for 5-7 days. Download a copy of the City of Houston Disaster Preparedness Guide for information on what should be in your plan and your kit.
Part of preparing is making sure that your insurance adequately covers your property. Homeowners and renters insurance doesn't normally cover damage from flooding, so make sure you have a flood insurance policy. Visit FloodSmart.gov for information on how to find the right policy for you.
During hurricane season, it's always a good idea to pay attention to developing storms. Pay attention to local television and radio weather broadcasts, as well as the National Hurricane Center website (hurricanes.gov) for up-to-date information on storms forming in the Atlantic and Gulf.
Sign up for Alert Houston emergency notifications from the City of Houston by visiting alerts.houstonoem.org. When storms threaten Houston, the City will use this system to tell you about steps you can take to prepare, and provide up-to-date information on conditions and evacuations. Emergency information is always available online at houstontx.gov/emergency.
I hope you never have to find out, but unfortunately flooding is the #1 natural disaster in the United States, and the most prevalent cause for insurance claims. Most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover flood damage and regrettably just a few inches of flood water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
Wind driven debris damage, runs a close second to floods; doors, and windows are often breached by debris driven by high winds, so don’t be caught unprepared. Just a few items can help you fortify your home or business for what may be an eventful hurricane season and potentially save you thousands of dollars.
Praetorian Disaster Supply understands that preparation can sometimes be expensive, and we don’t wish that any family lack basic home flood defense protection because it is too costly; so we have assembled a basic Hurricane “Wind and Water” Defense Kit that can secure your home:
- 12 Standard Size Flood Sacks- 12 super absorbent standard size, synthetic sandbags, placed strategically around doors, seams in walls, crevices, and air bricks, will help you mitigate the invasion of flood water into your home by (1) absorption, and (2) forming an impenetrable barrier. They are filled with a super absorbent polymer that absorb 500 x their weight in water, and can be stored indefinitely and weigh 1 lb. dry, inflated with water they swell to about 33 lbs. If you don’t need them this year save them for the next, they have a long shelf life.
- 2 Double Door Protection Sacks – Two very large and robust double door synthetic sandbags which protect vulnerable points of entry, i.e., single doors, double doors, and sliding glass doors. Doorways are particularly susceptible to the invasion of flood water, so we designed a hardy response to counter this threat. Each bag absorbs approximately 8 gallons or 66 lbs. of water. Once activated by water they form an impenetrable flood barrier, re-directing water away from vulnerable doorways.
The Wind and Water Hurricane Defense Kit is normally a $250.00 value, but for a limited time we will provide it for only $179.99, with free shipping, and a 14 day, no questions asked return policy;
But that’s not all, as a free gift we will also send you 12 Carbon Steel Hurricane Clips, with instructional video. Hurricane clips secures your property against wind and rain damage in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm, by adhering plywood without damaging your recessed wood, brick or stucco frame. The typical window can be secured with 4 clips so there are enough for as many as three average size windows. These rust proof stainless clips don’t require tools, nails, adhesives, or screws to install. Once you cut your plywood to fit the recessed window frame, simply slide the clips on the plywood and push into the frame, negative tension holds them in place.
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Ready or not here it comes
History has taught us that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are
common threads among all major hurricane disasters and often lead to
damage to property, and potentially loss of life. By knowing your
vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the
effects of a hurricane disaster.
Two keys to weather safety are to prepare for the risks and to act on those
preparations when alerted by emergency officials.
Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, heavy
rainfall, inland flooding, high winds, tornadoes, and rip currents.
The National Weather Service is responsible for protecting life and
property through issuance of timely watches and warnings, but it is
essential that your family be ready before a storm approaches.
Download the Tropical Cyclone Preparedness Guide (PDF) or follow the
links for more information. But remember, this is only a guide. The
first and most important thing anyone should do when facing a
hurricane threat is to use common sense.