I have dozens of reasons that I think are quite compelling for why people ought to be planning ahead and providing for themselves. Every day, news from the Eurozone sounds worse and that will probably all trickle this way before long. The economy here is no picnic already and even the initial happy reports of a profitable December are apparently driven largely by sales of preparedness items which may indicate that more and more people are very concerned about the future.
One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is that I really hope I never end up a refugee. From time to time, I hear about enormous compounds reportedly being built by the government to serve as “disaster relief centers.” On the one hand, I could view these as evidence FEMA has made some really important changes after the mistakes of years past (planning ahead, pre-positioning supplies, etc.). There is another part of me that thinks these camps would be the last places on earth I’d willingly go for several reasons.
Cases in Point
News of the “Occupy” protests seems to be down to a trickle now. Fewer people probably want to brave the cold and many are no doubt thinking that “home for the holidays” sounds a whole lot better than “camping by the Capitol.”
The movement seemed to lack organization and focus and was made up of “strange bedfellows” so I’m not too surprised that a lot of the groups are talking about taking a break until spring. From the beginning, I kept thinking that the tentcamps sounded like just the kind of place I would never want to make home.
In recent weeks, I’ve been writing some posts on the importance of soap and good hygiene practices. It also bears mentioning that living in cramped spaces with poor sanitation and among people of questionable health and free-wheeling lifestyle choices is a recipe for illness.
A couple of months ago, reports began to surface about the diseases that were spreading quickly among the Occupy protesters, some that literally make the flesh crawl. There were the usual colds and stomach bugs, but there were things a lot more sinister too. Lice and ringworm are definitely things I’d like to avoid. But how about scabies and tuberculosis? Even the deadly parvovirus has been making rounds among the pet dogs brought along. Thanks, but no thanks.
So, what can we draw from these reports?
The first and maybe most obvious object lesson I see in the Occupy protests is that I never want to end up in a refugee camp if I can help it. Sure, I’ll take one over certain death in freezing weather if I have no shelter, but probably just short of that, I will take my chances.
There are the health issues to be sure, but we all probably remember reports of what happened in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. Again, I think I’d probably be better off on my own than among the (dangerously) mentally ill and violent people that would probably share my quarters.
Another conclusion I draw is that I not only need to have a safe place to retreat to but I need to have it well-stocked with both food and medicine. In disaster situations, I shouldn’t count on being a high priority in a make-shift clinic or hospital or that one will still have the medicines that I may need after treating so many others.
Already, I avoid going into doctors’ offices during the sick season just because I’m pretty sure we’ll be exposed to something worse than we came in with while sitting in the waiting room. We’ll deal with our head colds at home and hope to forego mono and RSV.
So, what do you think? Would you go to a government run “disaster relief center” or take your chances on your own? If you go, what strategies would you utilize to stay safe and healthy?