In recent times, the world has faced a pandemic, war has returned to European territory and the Earth has shaken again, causing one of the deadliest earthquakes in memory in Turkey and Syria. And with such devastating news, basic concerns came back that are still complex to answer: what to do in the event of a catastrophe?
It doesn’t just happen to others and that’s why there are those who prepare daily. Are considered preppersa concept that was born in the United States, but also exists in Portugal – and are experts at anticipating and adapting to disaster scenarios.
On CNN Portugal, the founder of Portugal Preppers, Paulo Guerreiro, shares five pieces of advice for dealing with a catastrophe:
1 – Have a family emergency plan
It’s the basis for being able to do everything else, says the expert. “For example having escape routes, food storage and ensuring communication with the family.” To do this, you must be aware of the hazards most likely to occur in the area where you live and at work and leisure – always bearing in mind that serious accidents or catastrophes usually happen without warning.
The emergency plan must include two meeting points for the family: one close to the house, at a safe distance, and another outside the area of residence, in case it is impossible to return home (during the day, for example, adults will be working and children at school).
An important step is to have, visibly, next to the telephone, the emergency numbers: 112, local fire department, police, health services, Poison Information Center, children’s school, family doctors, insurance company, Municipal Civil Protection and make sure that everyone knows how to correctly use the emergency number 112.
2 – Know first aid
First aid is the set of procedures, more or less elementary, which aim to preserve life or stabilize a patient/injured person until the arrival of a professional rescue team. In more banal situations, when the accident does not require the intervention of third parties, first aid can be used for small dressings or temporary immobilization.
Paulo Guerreiro recommends always having a first aid kit and knowing how to carry out basic first aid maneuvers – for this, there are courses you can attend, either at the Red Cross or its own associations.
The case should be as compact as possible so that it can be easily carried when travelling, and strong enough in color to be quickly found in an emergency. In general terms, a first aid kit should have:
- Antiseptic disinfectant (Betadine type) for wounds or cuts;
- Saline solution;
- Ointment with antibacterial action for skin application;
- Sterile Vaseline to apply on burns;
- Band-aids in different sizes;
- Compresses for cleaning/disinfection or direct application, preferably in individual packages;
- hemostatic sponge;
- Instant cold pack;
- Instant heat bag;
- cotton buds;
- Anti-allergic adhesive;
- latex gloves;
- A small pair of scissors;
3. Have food and water stored
Done right, priming is the opposite of “panic buying.” To avoid situations such as a disruption in the supply chain, choose to store essential foods for a long period of time – but don’t buy them all at once, avoid hoarding, underlines the founder of Portugal Preppers.
Paulo Guerreiro recommends non-perishable foods such as pasta, beans, canned food and freeze-dried food (ready to eat, just add water). “And it is advisable to try the type of food before storing it”, warns the prepper. In terms of water, count at least 2L of water per person per day” – and don’t forget to count on water for cleaning, for example.
4 – Have kits prepared
There are several types of kit that you can have already prepared, with the most diverse purposes. “Some people carry a backpack with EDC kits (Everyday Carry), which designates something that we carry with us every day”, explains the prepper. An EDC is generally made up of multi-purpose pliers, a knife with a removable blade and a lighter, and always comes with the prepper. There are also those who also include other items, such as lock picks, to open locks, or a special key that allows opening fire hoses and elevators.
“A backpack is not the same for everyone. Create backpacks with equipment, but learn to use them first”, warns the expert.
Faced with a fire scenario, a gas leak, an earthquake or any other incident, Paulo Guerreiro reminds you to always have an emergency backpack at hand – also called a 72-hour kit so that, should you have to leave your home, you can have a few essentials on hand.
In addition to the EDC and the bug out bag (BOB), is still part of the basics of Paulo Guerreiro a Get Home Bag (GHB). It is a bag that allows you to get home safely: it must be ultra-portable and contain water, snacks, a change of clothes and a first-aid kit, as well as items that make it more comfortable to sleep a night or two on a floor somewhere.
5 – Ensure communication
Last but not least, Portugal Preppers warns of the importance of ensuring a reliable means of communication. “There are so-called PMR 446 – walkie talkies that work at a short distance, but which, if necessary, are easy and accessible” and also the “citizen’s band” – citizen band: a free-to-use radio that can be installed at home and that allows greater distances.
Also keep in mind that, in the event that your family may be separated during a serious accident or catastrophe, you should use a point of contact between your family and friends (make sure everyone knows your name, address and telephone number ), stresses Paulo Guerreiro.