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Survivor Skills: How To Be Ready When Disaster Strikes

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Megan Glaros Megan Glaros
Megan Glaros is the meteorologist for the CBS 2 Chicago Morning News...
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(CBS) – Since 2010, there have been more than 250 major disasters declared in the U.S.- floods, tornadoes, fires-and all of us need to be prepared.

“They think it won’t happen to them,” shares FEMA preparedness coordinator Jim Duncan, noting that some people “just haven’t taken the time” to prepare themselves.

Yet disasters do occur. Just in the last year, Moore, Oklahoma was devastated by a tornado, Hurricane Sandy tore through the East Coast, and spring floods overwhelmed Chicago.

Disasters can make resources scarce. Mike Morales lived in Houston during 2005′s Hurricane Rita, and saw its aftermath. “No gasoline. No electricity. Everything sold out in stores” he says.

Disaster preparedness is exactly what Johnny Tsai teaches. He leads the C.U.M.A. Survival School, where he shows children and adults alike how to gather essentials and build shelters. He tells others to prepare a “bug out bag”- a backpack or other portable container filled with enough supplies to last 72 hours.

Tsai explains that bug-out bags “need some sort of water supply, or a way to filter water” and food, including energy bars and granola- “things that can keep you going.” Mike Morales now has a fully-stocked bug out bag including flashlights, batteries, matches, a first aid kit, bug spray, wind up radios, knives, and more.

Ideally, you should have more than one of these bags. Jim Duncan recommends three, saying “you should have a kit at home, you should have a kit in your office, and one in your vehicle” so that you will have the proper essentials wherever you are.

Megan Glaros spoke to the kids in Johnny Tsai’s survival class, who believe that learning these skills is important. “Disasters can happen everywhere,” a student says.

In the 2011 blizzard, hundreds of cars were stranded on Lake Shore drive, and many drivers had to leave their vehicles. Tsai notes that these bug-out bags can help people in those situations.

In the event of a disaster, experts say families should have an evacuation route planned and be sure to carry IDs or birth certificates. Both FEMA and the State of Illinois have more suggestions for bug-out bags, and their tips can be found at www.ready.gov/basic-disaster-supplies-kit and here.

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