The infamous gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson is famous for saying, “Luck is a very thin wire between survival and disaster, and not many people can keep their balance on it.” According to some recent research, luck is going to be the only thing that most Americans will have in the event of an emergency.
Left Stranded Without an Emergency Fund
USA Today recently reported that roughly one-third of Americans don’t have any emergency savings. That means that about 72 million people have no money set aside in the event of an emergency. One survey shows that 18 percent of Americans save nothing from their paycheck. (USA Today)
- Start by putting away small amounts each month and watch your emergency fund grow.
- Make a commitment to reach a certain amount and then go back to your regular spending.
- Decide on the definition of “emergency” beforehand to keep yourself from slacking and using it for something that just seemed important at the time.
Hungry and Helpless Without Supplies and Resources
The 2012 FEMA National Survey asked citizens about how much they’ve prepared for an emergency. Only 29 percent of people surveyed said they had current supplies (and could name three of them) stored in case of a disaster. The report also showed that only 23 percent had ever attended a meeting or training on how to be better prepared for a disaster. (FEMA)
- Connecting with community emergency volunteers allows you to help others.
- Your connections could give you an inside track to closed routes or medical resources when things get bad.
- Keep supplies organized, clearly labeled, and monitor expiration dates.
If You Can’t Lend a Hand, Get Out of the Way
According to the American Heart Association, 70 percent of Americans may feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they either do not know how to administer CPR or their training has significantly lapsed. (American Heart Association)
- Sign up for a local first-aid and CPR class and get certified.
- Take your skills home and run through a simulation to help get your friends and family familiar with proper procedures.
- Put together a first-aid kit for any travels.
- Being prepared to handle injuries makes you a valuable addition to your community.
The lack of knowledge among Americans about what it will take to survive a natural or man-made disaster is unsettling. Don’t wait until a terrible event before you notice that you could have been ready.