I have been watching local Houston news all weekend and have spoken with several family members and friends in Houston. What has struck me about this entire situation is the lack of preparation. I am not addressing situations where people had prepared, but due to circumstances their preparations were destroyed. I am shocked at people who are only out of power and how devastated they are after only a few days. What would our society be like if a major disaster strikes without warning. If the scenes on TV are any indication, things will get bad very quickly. I have addressed disaster planning previously for nurses, but it seems timely to address it again.
Nurses are on the front lines (or just behind them) of any disaster; if nurses are not prepared, the system has the potential to fall apart. Not only must you know the disaster preparation for your work place, but you must be personally prepared at all times. In the Gulf Coast, there was prior knowledge that a hurricane was on the way, but what would happen if there was no advanced knowledge? Are you ready? Do you have enough food and water to take care of your family (including pets) for at least 3 days, but preferably a month or more? Do you have previsions for losing power (batteries; battery operated radios, tvs, lights; a way to charge your cell phone)? Do you have a back-up shelter option (located in your local area as well as a distant location)? What will your family do while you are working? Do you have a contact site if communications are down? Do you have copies of all of your important papers(including your nursing license)? There is much, much more and information can be found at the Red Cross's website.