Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Mon, Oct 16 2006

Approaching disaster proactively

My heart went out to folks in Hawaii this weekend when I heard about the earthquake they experienced. A 6.6 earthquake can produce some nasty aftershocks and that feeling of rolling for quite a long time, partly because of the body's reaction to the trauma.

Tomorrow will be the 17th anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta quake in our own area. I still recall feeling the need to keep a bottle of water, some sturdy shoes and a well-packed purse or bag nearby at all times for the first few weeks following the main event. I felt silly at being reassured by such small things, but psychologists in the area reminded us to do whatever little things we needed to do in order to get through the "buck fever" portion of the whole ordeal.

It does get better after awhile. And you learn to use the momentum of the adrenalin to make a list to better prepare your home, vehicle and workplace for any future events. One can't plan for every scenario, but having even a few items on hand to help you through the first 2-3 days will give you a sense of empowerment and may put you in a position to better help others who have been injured or displaced by circumstances beyond their control. Staying in shape and taking care of one's health could allow each of us to be better prepared in situations when it might take hours, days or even weeks for the first firefighter or paramedic to show up and rescue people. You may not know how to set broken bones but if you are able-bodied (and are uninjured from the disaster) you may be invaluable in helping to clear debris so that professional responders can get through to assist those in need.

Anyone can get into the practice of doing little things: Keep water, snacks for energy, sturdy work gloves, some dust masks, antiseptic, clean rags or bandages, strong rope and a small pry bar (and/or other simple tools) packed in a duffle bag that can be kept in a vehicle or tucked into a corner at work. And the holidays are coming. Put similar kits together and give them to loved ones.

Many disasters don't come with a specific warning. But we know they will come. We could be with loved ones, co-workers, neighbors or even strangers during a crisis. Taking care of one's self first isn't selfish in this sense. It's simply practicing the Golden Rule by being as healthy and prepared as we can so that we can assist others in any given situation.

posted at: 08:45 | category: /Health and Fitness | link to this entry



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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!