Here in Ireland, we have always taken comfort from our ‘moderate’ climate, but as has been recently seen in Donegal, we can’t take this for granted any longer. I lived in New Zealand for 12 years where in 2016 there were almost 33,000 earthquakes, 80,000 landslides, two tsunamis and one volcanic eruption! Communities are often without power after one of these incidents, and education around basic survival skills and the emergency packs that families should have to hand is constant.
So there may never be a large earthquake in Ireland, but we’ve had the landslides lately, and unfortunately, people have lost their homes. We have to recognise that our world is changing and we need to have some basic survival skills. The list below will give you an idea of what you need to learn and which supplies you want to have in your home. Hopefully, you’ll never need these skills but having them will come in handy anyway.
Do you have enough water?
Most people in the Irish countryside will know where to find a source of clean water. Maybe this should be top of mind anyway with our precarious water pipe situation at the moment!
If you know a storm or other disaster is on the way, have a minimum of four litres of drinking water per person for at least three days. Having a water purifier in the home will enable you to take water from the unlikeliest of places and may help keep your family alive.
Can you start a fire?
You don’t have to be a Scout to learn how to build a fire. If you don’t know
Have you done a First Aid course?
In a severe storm, trees are falling; debris is flying, and it’s possible that someone will be injured. Having a well stocked first aid kit that you know how to use will help you administer first aid until help arrives. You can find a course at numerous locations around the country, and at least one person in a household should know what to do and be able to instruct others.
Do you have enough food?
If you know a storm is on its way, it makes sense to ensure you have enough food supplies on hand, so nobody has to struggle to a supermarket in storm-force winds. How many of us have stories about the army landing in local fields with supplies during a snow storm? What would you do if that wasn’t possible? Food means ready-to-eat in case of power cuts, cans (make sure you have a can opener) and of course, water.
Can you signal for help?
Your cell phone may not have a signal, so you’ll have to go back to basics on this too. At a minimum, you need a torch and a mirror. You could also have materials (tape, paint if it’s not raining etc.) to spell out messages for help on the roof of your house.
The sun is shining this morning and acquiring skills like these may be the farthest thing from your mind, but when disaster strikes you’ll be grateful you learned – and you can always use them when you go camping anyway!