By Peterson-Schriever Garrison
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Did you know that natural disasters kill an average of 60,000 people per year, according to statista.com? Natural disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year. We are not exempt here in the Colorado Springs area.
Over the past 10 years, there have been numerous natural disasters in our local area from wildfires, floods and hailstorms. According to gazette.com, the Waldo Canyon, Royal Gorge and Black Forest fires destroyed over 900 homes and buildings, burned over 22,600 acres and amassed two fatalities.
In addition, who can forget the devastating hailstorm of 2016, which resulted in over $350 million in damage to homes and vehicles? The Civil Engineer Emergency Management Office stated that in the last 10 years, hailstorms have caused over $5 billion in insured damage. If a disaster occurred tomorrow, would you be prepared?
September is National Preparedness Month when we promote family and community disaster planning. If a disaster occurs in your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, but you need to be ready as well. Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere. You should know how to respond to severe weather or any disaster that could occur in your area—wildfires, severe thunderstorms, extreme cold, flooding or tornados.
Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety and losses that accompany disasters. Communities, families and individuals should know what to do in the event of a fire and where to seek shelter during a tornado. Because your family may not be together when a disaster strikes, it is important to create a plan in advance. It is also essential to have a disaster supplies kit that includes basic items from your home that you may need in case of emergency.
After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for several days. Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find and any one of them could save your life. List is not all-inclusive.
• Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)
• Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio
• First aid kit
• Extra batteries
• Whistle (to signal for help)
• Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
• Plastic sheeting and duct tape (shelter in-place)
• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (personal sanitation)
• Wrench or pliers (turn off utilities)
• Manual can opener
• Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
• Personal hygiene items
• Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it is ready when you need it.
For additional information on disaster preparedness visit the Civil Engineer Emergency Management personnel at the following events where they will provide preparedness information and answer questions.
Sept. 18, 11 a.m. – noon, Satellite Dish Dining Facility
Sept. 25, 2 – 3 p.m., Bldg. 30 (East Portal)