Hurricane season is here, San Francisco is overdue for a big earthquake, and a number of people are panicking about the coming bird flu pandemic. What do all of them have in common? And what, if anything, can you do about them?
They're all natural disasters. No matter where you live, you're likely to be looking a natural disaster in the face some day. No one knows just when, although doomsayers are telling us one is always just around the corner. Maybe it is. Maybe not.
Something could strike tomorrow or decades from now. But this doesn't mean that any of them will occur during your lifetime.
We've learned a lot from hearing stories about Katrina. We know that we shouldn't depend on government and other agencies to help us. In an ideal world, there is always someone to rescue, feed, and clothe us, and help us find our loved ones. In the real world, this just doesn't happen often enough. Your survival may depend solely on you.
So the first thing you need to do is think about what you would need to survive on your own for a week or two if necessary, not just a few days. Make certain you have enough water. This is something you can't do without and can't often share.
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Know your neighbors. Talk with them about combining your assets in an emergency. One hot tub or small pond can help flush several toilets when there is no public water supply. And a neighbor who knows how to turn off your gas can save your home and life. Get an emergency preparedness list from your local Red Cross and use it.
Forget about the horror scenes on TV shows about the bird flu. They're not realistic. Get more accurate information on how to protect yourself from all kinds of flu – the ordinary kind or a worldwide pandemic. You'll find them on my website in past health alerts, which are free to everyone. Please tell your friends to sign up and read them.
Don't wait for an emergency situation to occur. Take action now.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand