Encountering Disasters at Home or Abroad
It is one of the ironies of life that no one plans to be in a disaster, but survival of a disaster can depend on planning for the emergency. Planning for disasters at home represents one level of effort. You can have an emergency evacuation plan and a storage plan for the essentials. You know the area and understand the more common risks. If you live in a state prone to tornadoes, you have the mental mindset for dealing with that form of emergency. Planning to survive while abroad represents its own set of challenges.
When you are traveling, it is impossible to carry along all but the minimum of emergency supplies. If you are living abroad, it is possible to take some of the steps you would at your own home. The lack of familiarity with your surroundings will be one of the most significant challenges encountered in disasters abroad. If you are in a remote area abroad, a lack of awareness of local conditions can compound the dangers faced.
Know Before You Go
Whether one is at home or abroad, preparedness begins with knowledge. Understanding the natural dangers of a foreign locale is a key starting point. If you will be at a coastal location where tsunamis are a risk, preparation requires different survival planning than if facing potential wildfires or avalanches.
For example, preparing for the risk of tsunamis requires that you know the nearest routes to high ground and how the warning systems work. If you are in an area prone to earthquakes, knowing how to seek shelter will be the essential knowledge you need.
There is the increasing risk from man made disasters when abroad. Especially when heading to areas of civil unrest, a thorough briefing on the steps to be taken for personal safety is a wise precaution.
Regardless of the cause or type of disaster, there are certain preparations that can be taken to prepare for surviving emergencies. These steps include:
- Keep extra copies of your identification and passport in your luggage and on your person at all times
- Ensure that all medical conditions are indicated by medical jewelry. Have extra supplies of your essential medications and extra copies of prescriptions with you
- Always know the best evacuation route in hotels and other public venues
- Upon arrival, familiarize yourself with the location of local shelters, preferred evacuation routes and current conditions.
There are unique risks when traveling abroad. Like any disaster preparedness, the wise course of action is to not fear the risks while taking prudent steps to mitigate them.
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