By Wil Master, Red Cross volunteer
“Prepare for the worst, hope for the best” is one of the most important phrases for life in general. Of course, if not applied correctly or completely, the results can be disastrous.
As a Red Cross volunteer and community ambassador, I have seen the benefit of living by that phrase over and over.
It’s simple. Think about “prepare for the worst.” It means exactly that. Make a plan for as many kinds of emergencies that life could deliver. When disaster strikes, you will not be caught by surprise and will be prepared to take action.
How much daily stress would be eliminated if you knew you and your loved ones were prepared for a wildfire? An earthquake? A power outage? Or even a pandemic?
A whole lot.
“Hope for the best” is a great way to think and experience life. Many connect it to the idea of the power of positive thinking and other self-fulfilling prophecies.
However, this portion of the phrase by itself can be quite dangerous when it comes to preparedness. It tends to give users the false impression that “hoping for the best” will bring about the best, without taking the time to plan for the worst.
This kind of thinking is one of the key reasons that people don’t prepare. The general lack of preparedness is quite common as most people believe that:
- “It’s not going to happen to me.”
- “I’ll just call 9–1–1.”
- “The government will take care of us.”
These, unfortunately, are the general baseline responses from most individuals when thinking about disaster preparedness. They are simply not reliable or sustainable.
Before any emergency, we must start with an understanding that, “Nobody is coming,” “nobody is going to save us” and “we are on our own.”
For the first 72 hours to one to two weeks after a large-scale disaster, first responders may not be able to reach you or provide aid. Those numbers dictate that self-reliance and common sense are essential when making your emergency preparedness plan.
We saw this during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, as grocery stores and pharmacies saw a run on essentials such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. After a disaster strikes is decidedly the wrong time to start preparing.
While this may seem bleak, realizing that you have to be self-reliant following a disaster is a call to action to prepare now. Get an emergency kit. Make an escape plan. Be informed about common disasters in your area.
The bottom line? “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best” is a simple and easy phrase to remember, but it only works if you apply both parts – prepare and be hopeful.
Ready to get started? Visit preparesocal.org to get prepared.