November, 2010

A Response to the Naysayers

First off I want to thank Talk Show Host and “Lightening Rod” Glenn Beck for doing a show on preparedness. Maybe as he, Jaimie Lee Curtis and others who spend most of their lives in the public eye might bring awareness to the subject and motivate people to take action. I confess, I do not “follow” Glenn Beck on Twitter, nor is he one of the few hundred pages I have “liked” on Facebook, but I did venture over to read what Mr. Beck (and/or his staff) had said about the subject. I was equally interested in what kinds of comments he might have got from some of his nearly 1.6 million fans.

Secondly, I want to thank Glenn Beck and his staff for doing their research on the subject and doing a great job of demonstrating the simplicity of getting ready. You can check his site: glenn beck and see for yourself.

Next, as I read through many of the comments on this site, I was left to wonder how does so much misinformation get burned into one’s brain (unconsciousness into one’s consciousness). One regret I have about this industry is just how often fear is used as a motivator to people to take action. Truth is, preparedness is just plain smart. I want to take a few days to categorize and respond to some of what I read. I hope in the end it might answer some of the questions my readers have and give another view to those presented.

FEAR, 2012, and the end of the world weighs heavy on many people’s minds. Lets face it, it sells. We only have to look back 10 years ago as the second millennium approached. 1999 to 2000: The end of the world as we know it. Electrical and computer problems that will reek havoc on society. We sold a lot of food and water storage containers. I suspect the same will happen in 2012 as the December date gets ever closer. A lot has been written about 2012, I would recommend checking out Gregg Braden’s latest book entitled “Fractal Time.” That said, simply put, preparedness is about being able to adapt to the changes life throws your way regardless of the source. It is not about paranoia or end times. If the last ten years have taught us anything, it is that things can change swiftly. One does not have to follow or have particular religious beliefs to take the time to learn about preparedness, put together a plan and a kit, practice your plan, and stay abreast of the resources readily available to you.

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EP Denial – Its a Problem

The percentages of people who are prepared for a disaster or an emergency are dismal despite the efforts of the Red Cross and other government agencies. Why is that?

Seriously, what are the chances anything is going to happen in the next ten to twenty years to a home or business owner in the Wasatch Valley?  It has been over 200 years since the last significant earthquake hit Utah and there have only been a handful of earthquakes these past 1000 years. Is it helpful or hurtful to describe disasters in cycles?  This is, in my opinion the reason why people do not pay attention to natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, mud slides, flooding, etc.

The four stages of denial are: 1. It won’t happen.  2. If it does happen, it won’t happen to me.  3. If it does happen, and it does happen to men, it won’t be that bad.  4. If is does happen, and it is that bad, there is nothing I can do anyway so why try.  Which stage of denial are you in today?

Truth is, as we look back at Haiti, Katrina, wild fires in Southern California and other disasters, they happen any where, any time, with little advance warning. So perhaps a better question is: what is standing in the way of you putting together an emergency preparedness plan?

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Lessons from Haiti

HAITI – What Did We Learn and How Does it Apply to Your Business, Your Town, USA?

Studies have repeatedly shown that more than half of all small businesses impacted by a natural or man-made disaster do not survive. The recent earthquakes in Haiti were a wake up call to us all. What did we learn?

First off, it is imperative that a business establishes a clear line of succession when the designated leadership is no longer available. This will ensure there is no confusion about who can make decisions for the organization. When disaster strikes, quick action and decision making is needed and having a pre-designated line of leadership can make all the difference in a rapid and effective response. This is particularly important for a business that has multiple locations.

Secondly, disasters to happen and they happen without our giving it permission to happen. Trying to convince the local community to protect themselves from a potential disaster often falls on deaf ears. Most are content to roll the dice on just how much time and money they will invest to protect their business, homes, communities, and themselves. How to improve listening AND action on what is being said, is still up for debate.

Next, it is clear people will continue to put themselves in harms way. Past disasters, such as the oil spill and Hurricane Katrina, have done little to sway choices made with resources such as money and time.  Government agencies whose job it is to communicate to the public about potential disasters, have to improve terminology. Terms such as “100 year flood” or “200 year earthquake” gives people a false sense of security regarding the risks they face.

Finally, having an emergency management plan/program (EMP) is critical in ensuring success and/or survival. Plans need to be in place and practiced, you cannot build a disaster response system that works at the time of the disaster. A national disaster response system cannot make up for a failed disaster planning at the local and state level. Katrina and the earthquakes in Haiti have poured over-whelming evidence to support this premise.

In closing, it has been repeatedly proven to people/businesses/communities, the time to start preparing for an emergency response during a disaster is sooner than later. Read/study the available information and put together a plan. Practice that plan. Get whatever resources needed, even if you have to start small and build. Again, what is critical is to just get started.

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What if?

Much has been said/written about the need for water in an emergency.  Medically we know we are largely made up of water and we will not survive long without it. Most say 72 hours or less. This makes water a crucial component of emergency preparedness.

It is staggering to discover just how much water an average family of four consumes here in the United States. We use approximately 400 gallons of water a day to wash, clean, drink, prepare food, water our lawns/plants/crops, flush, etc. [On average the number is closer to 25 gallons/person/day when we take away farming and industry.] What would happen if we did not have this water or have access to it?

Government emergency preparedness agencies have told us for years to get prepared. It only makes sense given the examples worldwide we have seen and read about: Haiti, China, Philippines, and closer to home, New Orleans, Nashville, and Houston. Consider some man-made disasters and their impact: the stock market, the mortgage industry, unemployment rates.

Being prepared is simple. It is the practice of setting something aside for a “rainy day.”  I believe one reason that only less than ten percent of Americans are adequately prepared is most do not believe a catastrophic event will happen to them or their communities. The “big one” is unimaginable.

But what about the power going out for 24 hours due to an electrical storm? What about your spouse coming home and informing you they were downsized and lost their job? What about small flash flood due to snow melt that contaminates the local water supply? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little something set aside just in case?

Are you prepared? What would it take for you to buy a 72 hour kit and set some water (we recommend a couple of gallons per day per person) and food aside? Many recommend having enough water for a week; do you have enough water storage containers to handle this? What would it take to get prepared?  Begin today to plan for a possible shortage of resources. If anything happens, you will be grateful you did.  There are numerous resources at your fingertips available to help.  Just ask.

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48 Hours to go…

I was unable to post this prior to my run. The Marathon was an amazing experience. I am sitting in MacArthur Airport in Long Island with my daughter Kaitlin. We are reviewing our trip. Looking outside where it is blowing sleet and snow, I am grateful this weather was not part of our run experience. here is my post:

Water is so much a part of our lives, we don’t even think twice about refilling a bottle or glass. Taking an extra 10 minutes in the shower. In Arizona thousands of gallons of water evaporate daily from our swimming pools and canals. The amount of water used daily by an average family of four in the U.S. has been estimated to be nearly 400 gallons.  Drinking, cleaning, food preparation, watering the lawn, flushing, etc. are but a handful of the ways we use water.

In forty-eight hours I toe the line with some 45,000 men and women from across this amazing planet of ours. What line you ask? The starting line of the ING NYC Marathon. We start in Staten Island, run through Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem and the Bronx and finish in Manhattan. 26.2 miles and some 2-3 million New Yorkers and friends from all points on the map will be cheering us on.  There will be water stations along the way, nearly every mile. Hundreds of thousands of cups of water will be consumed, poured out over our heads and bodies. HYDRATE is a mantra in the runners’ almanac.

But for nearly 1 billion people worldwide, their day will not be like that. They will schlep a jerry can (5 gallon plastic jug) nearly the distance of a marathon to bring water to their families. Water filled with parasites and disease. Dis-ease. That is what a human being feels at their core when some of their most basic needs are not being met.

There are numerous ways to address the problem and it starts with men and women like you. One-way is to support an organization such as Charity: Water [] that is building wells in villages throughout the world to provide clean, safe water. A well costs about $5000 and can provide water for 250 people for 20 years. Not everyone has $5000 or more burning a hole in their pockets, but you can still give. $20 will give one person water for 20 years. Get 249 of your friends to give twenty bucks and you just built a well. And so it goes.

“Don’t just do something, sit there” is an old wise saying. Collectively we can change the world. We can stop this horrific crisis where thousands die daily because they do not have water to drink and/or the water they do drink is contaminated. Is this a cause you can get behind, or is something else pulling at your heart? I invite you to spend the time it takes me to run a marathon (3:45) and find something you can support.

I could use your support in building a well. This is a cause we at MBC chose to get behind. Every penny of profit from our emergency preparedness products will go to Charity: Water.  All donations you make will help the thousands of us behind this cause make our dream of providing clean, safe drinking water for those who do not have it.  Consider giving a buck a mile or more. Thanks for your generous support.

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