(Above image – Hurricane Katrina aftermath and flooding in New Orleans, Louisiana. CC0/Pixabay)
The Federal Emergency Management Agency was already supporting 692 federally declared disasters when hurricane season started last year. Then came the most destructive disaster season in U.S. history, causing $265 billion in damage and forcing more than a million Americans from their homes. FEMA was overwhelmed.
So the agency has a novel suggestion for Americans as the 2018 disaster season heats up: Don’t rely on us.
So begins an article by Emily Atkin at the New Republic, posted in the middle of yet another hurricane season. Although so far it has been a relatively quiet one in 2018, it is important to remember that even just one hit from a major hurricane can cause untold suffering. And so, she, and FEMA, are correct in saying that one shouldn’t rely on them alone in the case of disaster. It’s imperative to start preparing now, because at the last moment, it may be too late.
Not to knock our first responders – indeed, they do everything they can to help in perilous situations, putting their lives on the line and sacrificing their time and energy to help those in need. They are more than deserving of our sincerest respect, reverence, and appreciation. However, an army of Supermen they are not, and the sheer scale of disaster damage and recovery efforts means that they can’t possibly do everything needed to help everyone, especially in the immediate aftermath of a powerful storm.
FEMA acknowledges that they didn’t account well enough for the possibility of multiple disasters within a short period of time, or the extent of the damage on Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, leaving Puerto Rico underprepared for Maria’s wrath as the storm tore through the island. With the multiple levels of emergency response being coordinated across local, state, and federal agencies, there’s a lot that can go wrong, logistically. It’s important to realize that these agencies, while important and beneficial to those in need, are not perfect, and as they are run by human beings, their response is not always perfect, especially in crisis situations.
Furthermore, while frequency of hurricanes and the number of storms from season to season can vary, hurricanes are going to happen. Scientists predict that in the future, hurricanes will be “stronger, slower, and wetter“, as well, capable of bringing more instances of “Harvey-like rains”. This would, of course, increase the scope of necessary disaster recovery following their impact, beyond what can already be overwhelming for disaster response and emergency management agencies.
There are many things in life that we do not have control over. The weather is one of them. The actions of others is another. What we can control, however, is how prepared we are for those things beyond our control. We’ve written about the importance of preparedness before, from what to have ready in your hurricane disaster kit, how to prepare for winter weather conditions in your car and in your home. As a manufacturer of shelf-stable, self-heating meals that has been part of responses to disasters like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, we know the importance of protecting oneself proactively when it comes to disasters. We can help.
Our ready-to-eat, pre-cooked, homestyle meals heat themselves, and give you and your family the option of a hot meal, anytime, anywhere. In the aftermath of the unimaginable, that means a lot. With our 72 Hour Emergency Meal Kit, we offer 3 whole days worth of food for one person. That keeps you protected, at least for the time it takes first responders to arrive, easing their burden and keeping you and yours safe.
It’s not pleasant to think about the possibility of disaster, and it’s comforting to think that others will save us if they occur, but we need to remain proactive in our own preparation so that we have the comfort of knowing we are protected, and that when we do need help, we can be helped better. If we take steps to make sure our immediate needs, like food, are met, we will be better equipped to secure whatever else we need when disaster strikes. We can all be our own hero.