This is March of 2020. History will record that at this time, the entire planet is experiencing the Pandemic of coronavirus known as Covid-19. I’m going to write about preparedness today.

When I’m not doing genealogy research for myself or clients, I am a Safety Instructor. I teach CPR and First Aid. Right now, with Stay-At-Home orders for Southern California and many other places in the nation, indeed around the globe, no one really wants a CPR class right now. Quite understandable. I also teach other safety classes such as Forklift Safety, Bloodborne Pathogens, and Earthquake Preparedness.

Disaster Preparedness

Earthquake Preparedness is really a form of Disaster Preparedness. A disaster can also be a hurricane, tornado, or even a worldwide pandemic.

I will not advocate any particular brand of product for Disaster Preparedness. What brand of toilet paper you buy, or water or water filter, or flashlight, is entirely up to you. I’m not doing a commercial. In fact, most experts will recommend that if a YouTuber or other “social media influencer” recommends a particular product, they are really doing a commercial. In my opinion, all of the “influencers” of the world are really doing commercials. Which means, they are making money when you purchase what they “recommend.” Often, they recommend their own product. Conflict of interest?

I will advocate some training and education provided for free [in most cases] by local Fire Departments, and suggest some books [written by authors I do not know and have no affiliation with]. I have no financial interest in anything I am writing about today. No conflict of interest here.

CERT Training

I strongly suggest CERT Training. CERT is Community Emergency Response Team. I wholeheartedly recommend it. You don’t need to sign up for any team if you don’t want to. Here in SoCal, we learn about earthquakes. In other parts of the country, you learn about tornadoes, hurricanes, or other disasters. CERT is really an excellent form of Disaster Preparedness. Most local Fire Departments, either at the City or County levels, offer CERT training. Most often, it is free. Some local jurisdictions may charge a small fee, such as $50, and may even refund most or all of your money if you simply attend every single class! It really can’t be beat.

Whenever I ask if someone else has taken CERT training and would they recommend it, the answer is always a wholehearted “YES!” You can’t go wrong.

More info about CERT here.

which has a link to “Find Your Local CERT” here.

Here in Southern California, our local CERT website is here.

When this pandemic is over, and social distancing is no longer ordered, I encourage you to take a CERT class.

Disaster Supply Kit

The problem during this particular pandemic is so many people are unprepared and are hoarding supplies. Toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, and other supplies are simply sold out at most stores. If someone legitimately runs out of toilet paper, and can’t buy it because so many other unprepared people filled up their garage with a year’s supply, that creates problems. Friends have jokingly said that having a bidet would mean never needing toilet paper again! Jokes aside, that choice is a personal one for you and your family.

Part of the CERT training includes suggestions on how to purchase supplies such as a Disaster Supply Kit. Many of the “preppers” that talk about preparedness want to sell you something specific, often products they are merchandising at their own website. Avoid the commercials. The CERT training in Los Angeles includes a Disaster Supplies Calendar as a downloadable PDF to buy things for your kit over 24 weeks, with no particular brand suggested. 

Such a schedule includes things such as a hand can opener, in case you have no electricity after an earthquake, tornado or hurricane. The calendar also suggests rotating your stock, so once you have purchased everything on the list, go back to the beginning, buy new stuff as needed, and put the food you bought months ago in your kitchen or pantry and eat it, so that nothing ever expires.

After this pandemic is over, I suggest building up your emergency supplies. If you have an emergency or Disaster Supply Kit, which includes food, toilet paper and other supplies, you feel more confident that you can survive the hoarding of nervous unprepared people. And you yourself will not be nervous and unprepared.

Books and Movies

For books that are informative, I suggest the following. I do not know any of the authors, I just liked their books.

To understand earthquakes and other disasters better, Dr. Lucy Jones wrote a fabulous book titled The Big Ones.

Real stories included, The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes — and Why by Amanda Ripley is very informative. She writes about the terrorist attack of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, among other ideas. And gives some excellent suggestions for Disaster Preparedness.

For streaming video, some people are watching Pandemic and Unseen Enemy, which has Dr. Larry Brilliant, who is known for his work to eradicate smallpox. I have not yet viewed Unseen Enemy, but have heard good things about it.

For fiction movies, people are turning to Contagion and Outbreak. While Contagion is a work of fiction, the filmmakers interviewed staff at the Centers for Disease Control and asked what happens in their nightmares. I haven’t seen Outbreak in years.

There are certainly many other “disaster” movies out there, and one cannot recommend them all. And some simply cannot be recommended.

There are many good movies available on many good streaming services. Pick your way to watch.

I would caution you that some movies, disguising themselves as documentaries, are really propaganda for a particular political viewpoint. I endorse getting real news, real facts.

For the genealogist in me, I can also suggest you make your own home movies, telling what you did during this Stay-At-Home pandemic, so that future generations know what happened with you during this time!

And when this is all over, we can all be a little better prepared! Read your books, watch your TV, eat your food, and Happy Pandemic everyone! We will get through this.

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