Guest post: by Adam, from Australia
Preparation is essential if you intend to stay and defend during a disaster.
I recently had first hand experience of the importance of good preparation if you intend to stay put during a disaster. The small isolated town which I live, in remote rural Queensland, Australia was this month facing record flooding which authorities had good reason to think may be catastrophic. A decision was made to evacuate the town. Police and emergency services door knocked the town of 3000 people with the mandatory evacuation order. This order allowed police to use force if required to ensure that people evacuate. In reality common sense prevails, if police were forced to arrest people they would have to jail them, guard them, feed them and in this case evacuate them. The man power was just not there. So people were given a stern warning that if they did not comply, they would be on their own, and would not be rescued later. They should be prepared for an extended stay of more than two weeks, during which time, power and utilities could be lost.
The majority of people obeyed the mandatory evacuation order and left town, most of them were well prepared, took what was required with them and were all ok.
Most people on surrounding farms and properties were already well prepared anyway. They are used to having a large store of food on hand, are used to isolation, and are self reliant.
There were a few hundred people who stayed in town, most were emergency workers, or critical workers for utilities services. Most, including myself were very well prepared, had good store of food and water, power generators and self reliance plans.
Unfortunately, there were others who did not leave, they stayed for a variety of reasons, mostly to defend their homes against looters. Some stayed just because they did not believe the flood waters would get to a level where inundation would occur. It is interesting to note that during the 10 day evacuation period, there were no recorded incidences of break ins or looting.
Most hid in their homes when police went checking, and stayed out of sight for the first few days. We ended up seeing them when the power failed in their area of town or when their medication ran out. A lot of people had run out of food and medication after only three days. How did they hope to last two weeks? They then became a burden on authorities who had told them to evacuate. On numerous occasions, critical medication had to be airlifted in to people who had made a choice to stay behind, having been dually warned to leave and disobeying the directive.
I think this is a very recent example of the need for adequate preparation, whether that is being prepared to stay, or being prepared to leave. I packed up my wife and kids when the order came, put bug out bags and other supplies into the car and sent them off on the 5 hour drive to stay with family, with the confidence my wife was prepared and I had a well prepared set of supplies and a plan for my own survival. I was confident I would be able to carry out my job knowing my family were safe and well looked after.
When disaster strikes you must be prepared to be on your own, you can not rely on authorities to come to your rescue. Natural disasters are part of life in Australia, whether in the form of cyclone, wild fire or flooding, even very well prepared emergency authorities can not help everyone. When there are hundreds to be rescued or thousands to be evacuated relying on help that may not come is foolhardy.
Preparation is the key to survival in any situation, knowledge, supplies, equipment and a plan are the key. Be prepared
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