Multiple people have already written over and over, “Have a plan!” Great idea, highly recommended, but here’s a few things I’d like to add.
1. Don’t wait for the government to tell you when to execute your plan. You’re not stupid (if you’re planning). Do your research. Make decisions. Prepare early, like in August, when hurricane season starts. Buy your gas and store it. Get the generator at the Labor Day sale. Get ready to leave when a hurricane comes when the warnings come out, and leave, if you can, three days or more ahead of predicted arrival. Have an alternate route picked out. These disasters are GOING to happen. Just assume.
2. Count other people into your plan. Do you have enough gas for you AND the woman with three kids who is stranded on the side of the road? What about your elderly neighbor next door? You’re not an asshole, and neither am I, and I think we’d both do our best to help. The way human beings survive through catastrophes is by banding together and fixing the problem, not by playing lone survivor. Lone survivors eventually get picked off by the wolves. Work to build a network, within your own community, that rallies and bands together to help each other. That old guy who can’t fend for himself anymore? Maybe he was an electrician and can tell you how to get power back. The woman with three kids stuck on the side of the road? Maybe not so smart on planning, but she might be a hell of a pick up cook who can stretch your supplies. Point is, be prepared to be a good person and help others, because your neighbors will be your biggest asset in a crisis.
3. If, like many urban Americans, you don’t have the wherewithal to relocate or flee, be proactive in your community and work with your local government. Find out where shelters are. Help stock them. Build community ties so no one gets left outside. Build a neighborhood plan. Start a watch. Organize supplies and S & R teams. For the first few days, no one is going to come help you; you’re going to have to do it yourselves. Although you may have had it beaten into you that you’re helpless and that someone from the government will always be there to take care of you, fight that. You CAN do it, and the lives you save may be your families and your own.
Together, as a united people helping each other, there is no trial we, as Americans, cannot overcome. Good luck, and I hope to see you all safely next week.