I’m still amazed at the destruction of the Earthquake and Tsunami that struck Japan on March the 11th. Truly amazing video and photos coming out of there. And the amount of human suffering can’t even begin to be counted nor imagined. Yet, as I watch the Survivors go about trying to make it day to day, I can’t help but think how many of those people were actually prepared for something like this. There are lessons to be learned from the Japan earthquake and tsunami, yet I imagine few will take heed. In all honestly, I doubt anyone could be 100% prepared for anything of this size. Yet when I see all those people scouring the bare shelves of the grocery stores looking for food or waiting in line for hours, or even days for fuel, I wonder how many of them had thought about something like this might happen and practiced emergency preparedness? From the looks of it, very few.
Lesson #1 – It Can Happen To You
Japan is notorious for its long lists of earthquakes. So it should come as no surprise after the last one, there would be another. Yet, there are millions of people living and working in Japan. From what I could tell, even in areas where the tsunami never reached, there is wide spread damage and people out of food begging for help. It’s like they never imagined this could happen.
I’m betting many of these people thought “it would never happen to me”. They gambled and they lost.
Never assume an emergency, whether it be a natural disaster or man made one, will not affect you. Everyone who lives on the West Coast should have an Earthquake preparedness kit and a minimum of two weeks worth of food and water stored up. What percentage of the people do you think do?
Also, how many people living in Southeastern Missouri, Northeast Arkansas (in the area of the New Madrid fault) and even as far away as Little Rock, Memphis Tn and parts of Illinois are prepared for a major earthquake such as the one that hit Japan?
Become aware that it can happen to you. Once you accept that you are susceptible to wildfires, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes or other disasters, you can then be more prepared for them. Sticking your head in the ground and saying it won’t happen to you will not save your ass during a disaster.
Lesson 2 – Technology is Great, but it won’t put food on the table after a disaster
The images that strike me at my core the most are those of people who are hungry and haven’t eaten in days. Sure, some are those that lived in the area ravaged by the tsunami and would have lost everything they stored, but then again doesn’t this stress the importance of planning and preparing for disasters that are likely to happen in your area?
I mean geez, if you live near the ocean and your area, (or even a region) is prone to having earthquakes, doesn’t the likelihood of one day being affected by a tsunami make you want to have alternate plans in case one hits?
Japan is known for their technology. Not only are they great at developing technologies, their people are probably the most “wired” citizens in the World. That could have affected how many of them thought about preparedness. Probably many figured their technology would give them enough warning to handle any disaster, if they thought about it at all.
Now most of them only have the Government take care of them.
I love my techno gadgets. But I also love my food stores and I know they’ll be there if a disaster strikes. I won’t have to wait for a Red Cross van or a FEMA center to open before I can get something to eat. I’ll just open my storage closet and decide what I’ll have to eat.
Lesson #3 – Never Depend on the Government for your Security or Groceries!
Remember when I said above about the people having to rely on the Government of Japan for food and shelter now? It only took about a day for government officials to come out and state that they were overwhelmed. You know what happens to a government gets overwhelmed? NOTHING! Nothing happens fast! You’ll go hungry.
Just another reason to have stored food and basic necessities and preferably stored on at least two different spots. People often look at me funny when I mention this, but what if you had a house fire or were flooded and all your food is stored in your house? You think your Insurance Man is gonna wave his magic wand and make all your food reappear? Good luck on that one!
Lesson #4 – Never Live Near A Nuclear Plant if You’re In A Earthquake Prone Area
You’d think this one would be a no brainer, but apparently it’s not. You preppers around 3 Mile Island may want to take note of this one too. Nuclear plants are constructed better than most other buildings that you can think of. Probably even better than Fort Knox. But an earthquake is one of those events that will really test even the best engineers can think of. It certainly did in the case of Japan and her Nuclear power plants.
I’m all for Nuclear power. I think it’s great. You can even put it in my back yard as long as the rates are cheap. Just pay me a reasonable market rate for my property and I’ll move away. You can have it. No way will I live remotely close to a Nuclear power plant! Radiation is a nasty little problem and one I don’t want to have to deal with, especially after a major disaster.
If you live near one now, you’ve been warned!
Lesson #5 – Prepare For The Worse and Hope For The Best
We already know this lesson, but how many actually practice it? Let’s look at what a typical Japanese family might had done if they’d lived on the Coast.
First off, they would have food stored at their homes for an emergency. At least two weeks worth, ideally longer.
Second, they should have a backup plan in place and a backup plan to the backup plan in case things get really bad. We know these as Plans A, B and C. You should have predetermined evacuation routes mapped out and each member of the family knows these routes. This family would have simple asked a few basic questions. “If a earthquake strikes us, where will we go?” “If a tsunami warning sounds, where we escape to?” “Which escape routes are furthest from the coast?”
If they owned a car or two, each one should have had an Earthquake kit in them and two or more in their home. The extras would be in bug out bags, which one should be in their cars as well and at work if they could swing it.
Probably the most important item next to transportation would be a second or even third location to bug out too in case of an emergency. The family would also have a way to contact each other and decide where to reassemble after an emergency. This should also be covered in their bug out plans in case the lines of communication were down. Have predetermined places to assemble after an emergency or natural disaster.
These bug out locations would also have some food and water stored. These could be your friends home in the Mountains or a cache hidden in the hills near a remote campground. You just need someplace to reassemble and regroup if you’ve been separated. You can then make further plans from there.
By the way, you people on the Left coast can use this theoretical situation to develop your own bug out plans in case of a natural disaster or other emergency.
I’m sure there are other lessons to be learned from this disaster. I’ve often heard it said that wise people learn from others bad experiences. I hope many of us can learn and better prepare for any emergency that might come upon us! The worse thing any of us could do is pretend it won’t happen to us or to not even start prepping because it seems like a daunting task.
You might also take a moment and take a look at what there was a run on after this disaster and what they quickly ran out of. Food, water, fuel, medicine, protective mask and clothing along with iodine tablets. How many of these do you have stored up for an emergency?