Disaster Myths

Common Disaster Myths

If something happens all I have to do is call 911

The history of the past ten years has taught us that fire, police and emergency medical services can quickly become overwhelmed or incapacitated in a disaster. Emergency services are set up for handling the average number of emergencies in a community. While 911 services may still be operating during an emergency they will be attending to the most pressing needs first. The better prepared you and your family are the more likely your family will remain safe in a disaster. You will also create a safer community by easing the burden on the emergency services and allowing them to attend those in greatest need.

All I need is a 72 hour kit with a flash light, radio, first aid kit with some food and water and I’m prepared

While a 72 hour kit is a good start, a more practical goal would be to be able to be self -sufficient for up to 2 weeks. The nature of the disaster will determine the length of time that you may have to be displaced or shelter in place for example in a widespread flu outbreak a two week quarantine could be issued. Other planning activities should include being aware of how your child’s day care or school handles emergency situations, making sure your kit includes copies of all important documents like hazard insurance, bank accounts, identification etc., having a plan for your pets and livestock, identifying a family meeting place should an event occur during the workday and you can’t get access to your home, and having a list of emergency contacts including an out of town contact in case the local communication system is not available.

My insurance policy will take care of everything

Insurance companies will be far more concerned about their own bottom line than yours. In fact, many insurance companies are rewriting policies to redefine some rather common terrorism- or disaster-related incidents as being excluded and not coverable. Check your policies closely. Remember: Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover special events such as flooding.

Good preparedness is too expensive and complicated

Nothing could be further from the truth. You do not need to spend a fortune at upscale camping equipment stores to be well prepared for an emergency or disaster. A few simple additions to each trip to the supermarket is a great start.

Nothing like that could ever happen here

No area of the United States is immune from emergencies or disasters. California experiences a full range of disaster occurrences including fires, floods, civil unrest and earthquakes. In 2014 parts of Tehama County experienced significant flooding during winter storms.

All I have to worry about is my own family

Technically, yes, but the more you’re able to care for your own family, the more you can and should help others. Remember that you spend a lot of time at your place of employment and you should have a disaster plan for what you will do if you cannot leave work or get home. Have a kit, make a plan, stay informed applies to your workplace as well as home.

Full preparedness means I have to get a gun and become an end of the world survivalist

While personal security and family safety are valid concerns, the vast majority of people around you will not be a threat. In fact, though looters gained a lot of media attention after Hurricane Katrina, there were far more stories of heroism and of people making new friends through shared adversity. We suggest a moderate approach, balancing between personal security needs and the desire and ability to help others.