To Survive a Disaster You Need “Basic Skills and Self-Reliance” in Time Before First-Responders Respond

(p. C17) The coronavirus has challenged us in ways that our society hadn’t been challenged for decades.

. . .

. . . being stressed and anxious doesn’t mean you can’t be resilient. Actively working to mitigate the damage from a disaster can help to reduce stress, because it makes you feel more empowered and less like a helpless bystander.

. . .

Experience and preparation paid off for me in September 2017, as Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm, approached Key West, Fla., where my husband and I had spent two years building our home together. We didn’t freak out: We knew about the risk of hurricanes when we moved there. I had studied the maps to see which areas of Key West were prone to flooding, and we prepared our property accordingly.

. . .

My long experience has taught me that when a disaster strikes, you can’t wait for someone else to bail you out. You have to have some basic skills and self-reliance initially. If a grease fire breaks out in my kitchen and I have a fire extinguisher, I can probably put it out. But if I call the fire department and wait for them to arrive, my grease fire could turn into a house fire. I will still call the fire department, in case I can’t control the fire, but the first response has to be mine.

For the full essay, see:

Robert Jensen. “Staying Resilient When Disaster Strikes.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021): C17.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date September 30, 2021, and has the same title as the print version.)

The essay quoted above is adapted from Jensen’s book:

Jensen, Robert A. Personal Effects: What Recovering the Dead Teaches Me About Caring for the Living. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2021.

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