First Steps Post-Disaster
In the immediate wake of a disaster it is natural to fall into a panic and not know how to respond. The checklist below will help to eliminate the confusion and ensure that important issues are addressed in the order of priority. Review it several times and commit the rule of three to memory to help you remember the correct order.
- People/Immediate Safety. Check yourself over and make sure you do not have any medical issues that have to be dealt with immediately. Now count noses and make sure you are not missing anyone. Get everyone to the safest nearby place possible—a minute or less away from your original location—if it is necessary to move. Don’t move anyone with a possible neck or back injury unless it is critical that you do so.
- Emergency Medical/Clean Air—within three minutes. This is how long you have before inadequate oxygen or serious bleeding may cause irreversible damage. Review the June 2013 and February 2015 newsletters so your first aid knowledge and skills will be fresh in your mind.
- Hopefully, you have had a prayer in your heart the entire time, but now you have a minute to give it your full attention. Pray with your family or other group members if they will join you—it is clarifying and uniting and allows us to see the hand of the Lord helping us through our crisis.
- Adequate Shelter and Clothing—within three hours. Determine whether your home or another building nearby is habitable, if not, get to work finding or even rigging up some sort of shelter. Make sure everyone has the clothing necessary for protection and to maintain a healthy body temperature. This is even more important in extreme conditions or if there are injuries.
- Hygiene/Clean Water—hygiene within the first few hours and water within three days. Identify locations or facilities for toileting, hand-washing and obtaining drinking water. Make sure that there is no possibility of contaminating your drinking water. Be extremely conscientious and meticulous about this as there may not be medical treatment available should you become ill.
- Food—within three weeks. A person can survive without eating for at least three weeks, so tend to the more urgent needs first. Be sure that all food is well-cooked and prepared in a sanitary fashion. It is much better to be hungry than sick under these conditions.
- Work on obtaining important documents, supplies, equipment and transportation and in reestablishing your home, wherever that might be at the time. Contact employers/employees, creditors, insurance companies and family members in other places. Develop routines (sleep and wake times, regular meals, scripture study and prayers, clean-up, etc) within your new normal.