When engaging in emergency preparedness you typically follow a checklist of items to gather and prepare into organized containers or bags. Also, along in the process you seek out education on skills you will need in an emergency. We discuss and prepare for all eventuality of emergencies, but one topic that typically is not addressed is, what should you do in an event of a real emergency or major disaster?
If you imagine a calm lake and a rock is thrown in the lake. The ripples from the rock flow outward from the center. This is how you should think in terms of an actual emergency. You take care of yourself first, then work outwards securing your family, then neighbors, then community.
Lofty Wiseman, a solder in the British Special Air Service states that 90 percent of survival is the will to live and knowledge. The other 10 percent is your kit or supplies. So the first thing to do is an emergency is use your head and stay calm. Second, address any injuries to yourself and assess your situation for survivability. If you are not in the right mind or have unaddressed injuries, you will not be able to help others. Remember what they say every time before you take off in an airplane "In case there is a loss in cabin pressure, yellow oxygen masks will deploy from the ceiling compartment located above you. Please secure your own mask before assisting others around you”.. secure yourself, then others. So second, expand outward like that ripple in the lake. Reunite with your family members, address any injures and basic survival needs. Third, expand your circle, aid your neighbors and address any injuries or needs. Lastly, expand your circle to the community, turn on your radio to the established net stations and listen, listen, listen. Check in only when asked for check-ins or if you have emergency traffic. Also monitor local FM/AM stations and gather information. If you have assigned duties with ARES or other organizations report as requested. If you have not addressed the needs of yourself, your family, and your neighbors you will most likely not be an effective asset.
A few other tips to put into play early: Put your electronics into low power mode, you may not know when the next recharge is coming. Evaluate your supplies and identify what you are in need of and acquire them quickly before the masses catch on. Notify out of state contacts of your status. If the emergency has a large impact timeframe, ration your supplies to an appropriate level immediately. As soon as you start using batteries for lights or radio's start collecting energy to recharge from solar or other means, always stay ahead of the power curve.
Lastly in conclusion, each step of the way use your knowledge and skills to make smart decisions. Many people survive devastating disasters only to fall victim in the aftermath to injuries and disease. Be extra vigilant in safety and sanitation when medical aid we are accustomed to is not available.