- Politics and Social Issues
APOCALYPSIS NOW? MAYBE!
WHAT YOU NEED TO THINK ABOUT FIRST
There is no doubt in my mind that a potential nuclear war has been pending over our heads for a long, long time now. Somehow, I have managed all these years to push that thought all the way to the back of my mind, believing that “something so horrible will never happen to us”. However, I have started to watch the news more often lately, and honestly I do not like what I'm hearing.
Obviously, if a nuclear bomb was to hit the USA, the immediate site of the explosion would be reduced to ashes. However, the effects of radiation would extend far more than just a few miles. My thought is: what about if me and my family were living within the range of those post explosion effects? How do you survive the radiation? What could you possibly do, to at least attempt to reduce the terrible devastation of a nuclear explosion?
Despite the fact that I am a single mom living from paycheck to paycheck, the sole idea of even facing a possible nuclear war, makes me exhausted and totally frustrated. I wish I had the money to sit around just worrying to death about this possible terrifying event, buying and storaging the necessary items in case that a disaster of this magnitude would ever happen at home. Unfortunately, my budget is exclusively focused on my family immediate needs on a daily basis.
Who has the time to think “what am I going to do if one day the emergency broadcast announces THIS IS NOT A TEST?” Well, not too long ago I came across a very interesting article on the Internet, no author and written in plain English so that just about anyone could understand the instructions given there. Yes, the article was only instructions on what to do in case of a nuclear war. However, there was one statement on the whole article, which got stuck on my mind and made me wonder if shutting my eyes to this possible catastrophe, was really a smart choice for me and my family: “You are the only one responsible for your family” (I have included the link at the end of this article, because I think it has a lot of detailed and useful information, which should not be overlooked).
SO TRUE! There will be no one else to take care of your love ones, except for you, so denying a possible nuclear war, would be like trying to cover the sun with your thumb, and if you wait to the last minute, there will be no more food, or water, or anything else left on the shelves anymore!
Years ago, me and my daughter were living in Miami, when Andrew stroke. By 2 o'clock in the morning (the storm was announced on the nightly news to hit Florida the next day), there was nothing left to buy at any grocery store in the surrounded areas. We were lucky to be able to grab a couple of cans of food, and a first aid kit. People were frenetic, and in times like this the only thing you can do, besides praying, of course, is finding a safe shelter for you and your family. Me and my daughter were living in an efficiency at that time, I was a single mom and I will never forget the helpless feeling invading me, while holding my little girl's hand, not knowing what was next.
Andrew, however, was just a terrible storm targeting a specific area, and even then, FEMA had a rough time trying to cope with everyone's needs and demands. Just imagine then, what would happen if a nuclear war was imminent, with Nowhere to run or hide from the terrible effects of radiation. Preparing for something like this never sticks in people's mind, is easier to believe that it would be virtually impossible to find ourselves in such situation. We get wrapped up in our safety circle, our daily routine, and for some reason, we are convinced that if we don't think about it...it just WON'T happen.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Even if you don't want to think about it, or alarming your family with these terrible thoughts, you have the responsibility to prepare in case something so big and terrible did happen. Preparedness could mean the difference between surviving or not, for you and your family. Here are some of the crucial elements you need to take in consideration:
-Have a family plan, assigning a task to everyone. That way, even in the middle of the inevitable panic, at least everyone would know what they are supposed to do when the moment arrives.
-Chaos is the first thing to break out among people. There will be hysteria, people driving like maniacs to get home, and despite the Government instructions, there will be no “fashionable and safe way to evacuate”. In times like this, no one cares about others, so do not expect any assistance if your car breaks down in the middle of the highway for example, or if you get in an accident, because there won't be enough EMS vehicles on the streets, to get there fast. Start learning now, how to perform basic tasks to your vehicle such as how to fix a flat tire, or how to jump a dead battery, etc. Invest in one of those “fix it yourself” kits sold at every auto stores, which usually come with all the necessary items to get your car up and running in no time, such as a self starter battery jumper, a portable tire inflator, a good flashlight, a couple of red cones, a self operated battery radio or CBS radio, first aid kit, a gallon of gas, and duct tape. The main priority is for you to get home quick but safely. Getting a concealed weapon permit is not a bad idea either.
-Start thinking which would be a good spot for a shelter in your own home. If you don't have a basement, follow these rules for safety: select a room in the middle of the house, where there is no windows or doors around. Create a protected circle around the “shelter” like walls made out of piled up furniture, bricks or some kind of metal, leaving a gap for air. Make sure that everything you will need followed the hit is within reach.
-It is not a bad idea to start gathering items such as: bottled water, non perishable food, 2 radios, enough batteries, maps, lead flashlights, first aid kit, prescribed medication, an other basics. Also make sure that all your important papers are in a safe place just in case.
-If you have enough time, empty your bank accounts and place the cash in a safe place. There are some belts, usually for traveling, which have a hidden zipper, where you can keep the money with you, at all times. If you have to purchase something, do it preferably with your credit card. You probably won't need any money any time soon, but you will if you get out of that one, and you need to start all over again.
-If you have time, board your windows and seal the edges with duct tape, disconnect all utilities and make sure that there is no gas leaking, close all valves, including the one for the grill, if you have one.
-Include in your inventory items like respiratory masks, hooded raincoat ponchos, iodine tincture or “Betadine” (it should be applied 2 hours before exposing to radiation in contaminated areas, and it should be applied on the forearms or the stomach according to instructions). Remember, the danger here is the radiation effects, and the particles falling after the explosion. You would also need a fire extinguisher, a can opener, gloves, a couple of good knives, and tons of paper cups, plates and plastic silverware, blankets and pillows. Be aware that once you have determined the spot in your house, which will be your shelter in the event of this catastrophe, all the necessary items must be hand reached. You won't have time to do it at the last minute. Make a list now, and make sure that everything you will need is gathered there.
-Have enough different sizes zipper bags for garbage purposes, and other disposable substances which require special handling to avoid maggot infestation, and bacterial infections. Have enough paper towels, and antibacterial products to clean your hands, and spills.
-If you have kids, make sure you will be able to entertain them. Pack some books, toys and games. Remember, they won't have a clue on what is going on around them, and although you might think you're doing a good job explaining to them why they have to live on those conditions for a while, they will feel anxious, and sometimes bored. Be patient, don't lose your temper. Don't forget that you are the one in charge there, and that you need a clear mind to survive.
-Pick information pamphlets about radiation and it's effects on people, at your local fire station, it will be easier for you to read it to your family, and then answer all their questions. Information is crucial to survive.
-Make sure you fill out every available container with water (including bath tubes after cleaning them with bleach). Even if you already have a good provision of water, there is always a need to wash something. In order to purify water mix 10 drops of “Clorox” for each gallon of water.
Read frequently the Emergency preparedness booklets issued by FEMA, and other agencies dealing with natural and not natural disasters. Keep informed and keep your family informed of the actions which have to be taken in order to be safe. There will be people who might accuse you of being paranoiac, or being a pessimist, but what about if something so horrible would really happen at home? Ask yourself this: Wouldn't you prefer to be prepared and save your family's life? Rather than just watching them agonize, not being able to do anything to help them? My answer is obvious, what about yours?