Are You Ready?
As the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season enters its winter years, I find myself being very thankful once again and somewhat reflective on related matters.
Thankful that as an individual, my friends, families and co-workers (in Barbados) were spared. Thankful that as a citizen of a country that is still largely dependent upon tourism and foreign exchange to pay for its imports, that once again our little rock has again escaped without major incident (knock wood).
Proof that once again God is a Bajan (or at the very least, holds some special status in Barbados). However, there are those of us who were not as fortunate. In particular, our brothers and sisters in Jamaica and our northern neighbours in the U.S. of A re: Hurricane Sandy. Lives have been lost and devastated and billions of dollars of damages have been incurred (with recovery efforts still ongoing).
Reflective about the fact that despite all of the things that Man (and Woman) has accomplished, Mother Nature proves time and time again that she is still driving the bus and that we are just along for the ride (despite the fact that some of us behave in an unruly fashion on occasion).
Further reflection when, unable to fall asleep last night, I channel surfed and ended up watching the 2009 disaster film: 2012 (3.5 out of 5 stars is my vote). With images of the movie (an aircraft carrier being washed ashore, awright den!), real images of Jamaica and the U.S, stories of shortages of food, gas and water in mind, I asked myself: Am I Ready?
Ready as in prepared for a prolonged disaster: one that may result in basic services being unavailable for 3 to 6 months (forget happy hour on the South or West coast and pudding and souse on a Saturday). Maybe longer. Fans of the “Doomsday Preppers” show on Nat Geo know what I’m talking about.
I personally think that some of us Barbadians, as individuals, do not take natural or man-made disasters seriously enough. God is a Bajan is the frequent rebuttal, or explanation. Yet in business and government we do prepare: Government has hurricane shelters, DEMA and other entities. Businesses have business continuity planning (BCP) and disaster recovery (DR). I.T. folk (or I.C.T. if you prefer) in particular have hot sites and redundant this and dual that, ad infinitum.
But… Are You Ready?
Or do you only get ready when the Met says that something is coming and you wait until the last minute to get your water, batteries, corn beef, Eclipse, cheese, pepper sauce (not sure how long pudding and souse can store) and whatever else you deem critical. Alas, you as well as half the island may be of the same mind. Now we have grid-lock traffic, shortages, long lines and so on.
Maybe it’s time for us Bajans to take a page out of the “Doomsday Prepper” book (or at least a paragraph, as some of those Prepper folk go to the extreme). Time and money permitting, why not set aside a small space in the house for an emergency medical kit, bottled water (I hear that it can be stored for years once its kept in a dark and cool environ), canned goods, lots of batteries, a portable radio? Maybe even a small solar kit (not for the whole house, but basic devices like a radio or lamp or a hot plate).
Why wait? See for yourself the scenes on T.V. when disaster strikes: chaos, looting, violence, dogs and cats living together (the last one is a quote from the Ghostbusters movie). A general break down of society. We’ve all gone without electricity for a few hours (some of us longer during Tomas). What happens if the disaster lasts longer and affects the majority of the island? A lot of pain and suffering can be avoided if we plan ahead so that if and when disaster strikes, at least we can hold strain for a short while until help comes.
So, Are You Ready?