One thing that is becoming obvious after the events of the past 3 weeks both here and in Japan, is that everyone suddenly becomes an expert.
I have been overwhelmed by blog posts and emails advising me how to be prepared for a disaster. It kind of reminds me of when I was pregnant, everyone had advice and knew what was best for me, I listened politely and then discarded the crap and paid attention to what seemed like good advice.
I am considering working on a new book, I think I will call it:
"THE BOOK YOU NEVER HOPE TO NEED BUT SHOULD READ JUST IN CASE" (TM)
this would be my own personal compilation of all the useful advice, information and support that has helped me since I found myself living in a disaster zone:
A few tidbits would include:
* Follow your own instincts.
* Look after yourself and family first
* A special chapter on how to make your own long drop toilet
* Just how much water is enough to have stock piled before a disaster.
* What is the best performing perfume and deodorant when you cannot shower or wash clothes? My personal choice (JO MALONE)
* How to cook in an oven that seems to have only one temperature - super high hot.
* Where to place torches throughout your home for those dark long, nights.
* A plumber can take 2 weeks to check your leaking Hot Water Cylinder, however tell them you have raw sewer seeping from your pipes and they get there in 2 hours.
* People from out of town will try and poach your staff, take away business and tell you how sorry they are that we are having a hard time. All the while making it worse.
* As my husband says everyday "HUGS ARE FREE SO HUG FREELY"
* If you were not there when the disaster happened you DO NOT get it, DO NOT understand, and DO NOT know how we feel. So do not try and tell people you do.
* Never ever compare natural disasters, no one is worse than another! BECAUSE For the people who are in the middle of a situation regardless of where they are or what the disaster is, it is the WORST thing that will ever happen to THEM in THEIR lives.
* Know that if you have been effected by a NATURAL disaster then it is tragic, scary and energy sapping. However the reality is there is nothing you can do to stop them happening, so live each and everyday with gusto and one at a time.
Sure there is a huge amount of practical advice out there:
* Have an emergency kit
* Keep you mobile charged and with you
* Sleep with shoes beside the bed
But the reality is the challenges may come from the most unexpected place and situations. So be prepared to make decisions and actions based on not having the things and resources we regularly take for granted and assume will be available to us.
So regardless of how prepared we are some Disasters come with no warning or advise, and not have a lead time and preparation time so you may not be near your emergency kit and you will need to improvise.
So back to the fist tidbit - "Follow your own instincts" trust your gut and do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Do not ask permission or wait for others to take the lead, do what you need to do when you need to do it, survival is key.
Once the dust has settled and the reality of the situation starts to sink in then you will be heartened to find a community that will come together and do what needs to be done. Be part of that community and build a new strength together.
So yep I guess I too have "become and expert" by writing this post, so you can read it and throw out the crap and take to heart the information that you find useful, and I hope that one day you never need to use it.