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Ready, Set, Go by Dr. Terry Oroszi

​​There has been an uptake in climate and weather-related disasters. We have seen a surge five-fold over 50 years. An increase in global temperatures means more droughts, floods, rising sea levels, and increased intensity of storms. Changes in the climate intensify hazards and the risk of extreme weather disasters. The evidence is overwhelming and the results devastating.
The number of climate-related disasters has tripled in the last 30 years, and more than 20 million people a year are forced from their homes by climate change.
What this means for the average citizen is that their chance of experiencing a natural disaster has increased. Natural disasters are not our only threat; every one of us could also suffer a localized or personal disaster, such as a neighborhood power outage, a house fire, or a citizen uprising.
Live the Capable Lifestyle! Capable people can be best described with the Coast Guard motto, “Always Prepared”! Capable people have a realistic expectation about the world, its dangers, and the fact that there are many ways we can adapt to make our lives safer.
Capable people have no expectation of calm; they understand that, while many of the places they go are relatively safe, the environment can change, and a threat may appear.
Capable people are not complacent; they understand that complacency can cause us to ignore our environment and become caught up in our activities. Complacency causes us to lower our guard and assume we are safe regardless of what may actually be happening around us.
Capable people take advantage of technology rather than being distracted by it. Capable people make use of modern technology (internet, cellphones, social media) to enhance their ability to learn about their environment, especially any threats. Technology helps them make good planning choices and then allows them to rapidly adapt those plans when things change.
Capable people plan ahead, and they plan with contingencies. They think about possible alternative outcomes and additional factors that may have an impact on their activities – they take into consideration the “What If” scenario.

Who will be able to help us in a crisis? Organizations with missions to help the public during times of crisis locally include the police, fire, and EMS. The American Red Cross, an organization started by social reformer and nursing pioneer Clara Barton in 1881, was created to aid Americans suffering from disasters or serving on the battlefield.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is another organization that responds nationally. FEMA’s mission is to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. The maximum dollar amount a FEMA survivor can receive is set by Congress and is currently $35,500. The average grant is less than $8,000.

“Beyond COVID – many of you are also seeing your resources drawn into the opioid crisis, tackling homelessness, dealing with social unrest and the consequences of domestic terrorism, the impacts of cybersecurity breaches, and numerous other types of crises. And of course, there’s climate change, which is turning the storms, floods, and fires that we manage into profound, long-term, cascading incidents.”
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell’s
Remarks to the NEMA 2021 Annual Forum

First responders are the first line of defense for our communities, responding to both natural and man-made threats; however, they cannot do it alone. We must recognize the need for personal preparedness. There are several things we can do to be better prepared.
To start, if you don’t have it already, get homeowner’s / renter’s insurance! Talk to your agent about coverage, such as fire, flood, wind, mold, and debris removal. A standard policy covers water damage from a burst pipe or broken HVAC or protective sprinkler system.
Wind-driven rain that enters through a hole in the roof or window would also be covered. Flooding, surface water, water that seeps up from the ground, and water that backs up through sewers or drains or overflows through a sump pump are all typically excluded from coverage. A water backup coverage endorsement can be added to your policy for as little as $30 a year.
Create a family disaster/safety/crisis plan. It is very important that your family be prepared for a disaster before it strikes. One way to prepare is by assembling an EMERGENCY Go-Bag.
A Go-Bag is a portable kit that includes the items that you need to survive while you are away from your home. Once a disaster hits, you will not have time to shop or search for supplies. However, if you gather supplies in advance, your family can endure an evacuation or home confinement.
Emergency Go-Bags should include a minimum of the following twenty items. Check the expiration dates on nonperishable food items, bottled water/beverages, and medications.

1. Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
2. Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
3. Flashlight
4. Solar, battery-powered, or hand-crank radio
5. Extra batteries
6. First Aid Kit.
7. Multi-purpose tool
8. Sanitation and personal hygiene items
9. Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
10. Family and emergency contact information
11. Extra cash
12. Blankets
13. Map(s) of area
14. Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)
with extra batteries, glasses, contact
lenses, syringes, etc.)
15. Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
baby food, diapers)
16. Games and activities for children
17. Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
food, carrier, bowl)
18. Two-way radios
19. Extra set of car keys and house keys
20. Manual can opener

Contents for your Go-Bag can be region-dependent.

The West Pacific region experiences earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, wildfires, and volcanoes. Your Go-Bag could include maps, heat resistant blankets, crank, or solar phone chargers. Do not forget a spare pair of reading glasses to read those maps.

West (Mountain)
Two of the natural disasters, earthquakes and wildfires, plague this region as it does the West Pacific. The type of disaster can dictate the amount of time you can expect to be away, and if that trip might be permanent. Wildfires can destroy communities, whereas it is less likely that an earthquake will leave you homeless. Do not forget to have important phone numbers and addresses in writing; relying on your phone in times like this can be a detriment.
Tornadoes are predominant here. When possible, move to a windowless interior space on the lowest floor. In Illinois and Missouri earthquakes are a problem. North Dakota and South Dakota experience wildfires. Earthquakes and forest fires made the top ten worst U.S. Disasters list, while tornados did not. An indoor Go-Bag, left in your safe space, can be helpful when waiting out a tornado. This bag should have games, a crank radio in case of power loss, water, and snacks.

South and Southeast
Tornadoes, landslides, earthquakes, and hurricanes, depending on your location. Six of the ten deadliest disasters were hurricane events. Make sure your Go-Bag includes rainwear and is waterproof.

The Mid Atlantic and New England
Hurricanes and Winter Storms are repeating natural disasters for this region. Make sure your Go-Bag includes blankets, extra clothes, and instant heat packs, not microwave needed.

Where can I learn more?
FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute offers more than 200 free courses online.

IS-394.A: Protecting Your Home or Small Business from Disaster
The primary audience is small business owners, homeowners, and individual citizens. It is presented in a non-technical format and includes protective measures that can reduce the negative consequences of disasters on homes or small businesses.

Get involved with CERT
The Community Emergency Response Team program offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during a disaster situation. Search for a program, register your group, and stay connected in your neighborhood!

Launched in February 2003, Ready is a National public service campaign designed to educate and empower adults, teens, and children to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters.

Ready for Teens
Teenagers and other young people can help their families, schools, and communities prepare for disasters. Teens can join the teen preparedness council or start a youth preparedness program like Teen CERT.

Ready Kids!
Emergencies and disasters can be scary for adults, but even more so for children. At the Ready Kids! webpage you will find games for children. Your younger children can become a ‘Disaster Master’ and learn how to build an emergency kit. They can meet Pedro the Penguin, who will teach you all about staying safe.

Being prepared can be a family affair. When the family is prepared, the fear is lessened and the chances for survival are improved. Make a Go-Bag, have one for each car, and the home. Fill it with items that are needed for your region. Have a meeting place defined and mapped, for the family to reconnect after a disaster. Extra medications or prescriptions can save lives. ❦

About Dr. Terry Oroszi

Dr. Terry Oroszi is a Vice-Chair and Associate professor In the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department, Boonshoft School of Medicine, part of Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She is aHer subject matter expertise is in Homeland Security.

As part of her role at BSOM, she serves as Director of the graduate and the Chemical Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) Defense Programs. She started her career in the Army, transitioned to the laboratory doing molecular genetics work, and merged her military and science experiences to develop the homeland security focus for the medical school.

Dr. Oroszi has several collaborations with the military, industry, academia, and the government in CBRN, terrorism, and crisis decision-making. She is the founder and chair of The Dayton Think Tank, a gathering of the top 50 crisis leaders in the region.

As a civilian, Oroszi has received training from the FBI through two programs in 2018 and 2019 and recently stepped down as president of the Dayton InfraGard chapter to be part of the InfraGard National Members Alliance Board as the new INMA secretary.

Oroszi has shared her research on American terrorists with NSA, at Quantico, and members of Congress in D.C. Her subject matter expertise in terrorism and crisis leadership has been recognized in media, including print, web, and T.V., and as an invited speaker at national conferences for military, government, and industry leaders.

Along with several journal publications, she is a co-editor and contributing author of “Weapons of Mass Psychological Destruction and the People that Use Them,” Praeger ABC-Clio, “The American Terrorist: Everything You Need to Know to be a Subject Matter Expert,” Greylander Press, a book covering four years of dedicated research on American citizens charged with acts related to terrorism.

In her free time, Oroszi started writing a fiction series about a female FBI agent that is frankly not a very good agent. She drops cover, occasionally loses her temper, and has a few too many unsanctioned kills. “Operation Stormfront: From Weatherman to Wall Street,” book one in the series, and book two, “Operation Deep Dive: Back into the Past,” released Sept 2019, and novella book 2.5, “Mr. Smith Goes to North Korea,” released Oct. 2019.

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