ASK JANICE --- ARE YOU READY?

Are You Tsunami Ready? The unkind truth is: it’s a physical event! We have all had our eyes opened up to reality, actually twice in the last couple years. We know we live in a vulnerable area, but who doesn’t. Living means being in danger of dying! So what’s new? It does not mean we have to live in fear.  In fact it’s the opposite. The question becomes one of awareness.

Being prepared will eliminate fear!

In order to be prepared for an emergency, one must think about what this really means. I was chatting with someone the other day and I asked her if she had an emergency supply kit ready to go. The response was yes; she and her husband had packed a large container with all the right stuff. I asked her if she could carry that up a hill, since driving your car will most likely be unavailable. You can probably guess her answer.  Now, can you imagine this scenario? You are in your home or office, an earthquake occurs, windows crash, dressers fall over, beams fall down etc...I think you get the picture. You are okay but you now have to grab your back pack that has your supplies and get going up the hill! Your heart is racing. You are now tapping into your “Flight or Fight” response system.

This is a natural part of our nervous system. It can help you respond to a dangerous situation.

  • Mental clarity of mind is more acute if you are prepared, i.e. you visualized or lived the situation before it happens.
  • Pupils dilate to take in as much light as possible.
  • Veins in skin constrict to send more blood to major muscle groups; which means less blood to the skin to keep you warm.
  • Muscles tense up since they are being energized by adrenaline and blood glucose.
  • More oxygen is sent to the lungs
  • Non-essential systems shut down, like digestion and immune. This allows more energy to go to the emergency functions.
  • Your mind will have a hard time focusing on small tasks (like finding your keys or eye glasses). The brain is directed to focus only on big picture in order to respond to the immediate threat.

All of these physical responses are intended to help you survive a dangerous situation by preparing you to either run for your life or fight for your life (thus the term "fight or flight"). This is an instinct that every animal possesses.  But what every animal does not naturally possess are fitness, strength and endurance. If you don’t think you will need these abilities, you may want to reconsider.

I want you to imagine the possible scenarios and try to visualize your course of action.  Consider these things:

  • Are you strong enough to pick up the bookshelf that fell between you and the door?
  • Can you carry your child and the pack on your back?
  • Could you dig and lift heavy objects from a pile of rubble?
  • Do you have the cardiovascular fitness to make it up a hill for a mile or more?
  • Can you do that while carrying your pack?
  • Do you have the endurance to then build a fire, a shelter and help others?

If not, a fitness program would serve you well. The benefits are not only that you will be prepared for emergencies, but you may be able to help someone else you care about that is not.

If you never had a good excuse to exercise (which is hard to believe), you now have a dandy.

  1. Your first workout:

From every usual place you spend time make some concerted efforts to walk fast,  jog or sprint your way to your safety zone. So that means 3 to 5 or more places depending on your lifestyle. If you do this once or twice a week you will not only gain familiarity and confidence with your basic escape routes but will enhance your cardio vascular strength.

  1. Your second workout:

Get your emergency evacuation pack ready, pick it up, put it on and walk around for a while. Do your legs feel strong and secure? If not you are going to need to find a way to strengthen your lower body.

  1. Your third workout:

Imagine how much a things weigh that you are going to have to lift or help others lift. Are your arms, shoulders and back strong? If not you are going to need to find a way to strengthen your upper body and core.

  1. Your forth workout:

Once a week walk, ride, paddle, dance or whatever works for you (physically), but do it for at least an hour or even better for 2 or 3. This will build your endurance.

Build gradually and slowly, and most importantly be consistent. This will get you the best results in the shortest amount of time.

This is not about living in fear.  This is about awareness, intelligence, and being prepared for what life can dish out. Live your life in less fear knowing you will be ready if need be.

I know these are strong words but I say them because I care and I want to see you at the top of the hill if and when an emergency hits, such as a major earthquake/Tsunami.