Sandy — A Lesson in Preparedness

Hurricane Sandy, being the most recent natural disaster, serves well as an example of “what to do” and “what not to do” to be prepared for emergency situations.   As discussed in the article “Living or Prepping”, people choose to be prepared for one thing or another, or not all all.  While the citizens of New York and the surrounding affected area are said to be a well prepared people, the fact remains that people were not as prepared as you would think.

For instance, in NYC, living spaces are smaller than most people have in the rest of the country.  Smaller spaces equals less space to store supplies.  People did not have an adequate supply of cash on hand because they didn’t think about the possibility of not being able to access it during a power outage, or because they are poor and don’t have extra dollars.  In terms of evacuation, the concept was not even considered by most people because of lack of transportation and financial resources.  Instead, the people stayed in their homes and tried to stay out of Sandy’s way.

How prepared can a person be if they do not drive and do not have adequate stores of supplies?  How prepared is a person who does not have the ability to purchase what they need during such an event?  We could take this one step further.  In times gone by, stores had a “back room” where additional inventory items were kept and placed on shelves as the supply was sold.  Now, in an effort to reduce overhead and inventory, most stores practice “just in time” marketing.  Stores keep a three day supply of items on the shelves at any given time.  Because of this practice, people preparing at the last minute will find the shelves bare.

Being prepared means planning.  It means setting aside a certain amount of your budget to prepare for unplanned events.  It isn’t difficult, and it doesn’t need to change your lifestyle.  It can be as simple as buying two or three extra cans or boxes of food each week at the grocery and putting them under the bed.  Preparing to have cash on hand can be as easy as putting coins in a jar every day when you get ready for bed.  These actions are painless when you do them and add up significantly over time.  Using this method, there should be very few people excused from preparing for the worst.

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