Major earthquakes in Japan, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupts and tremors rattle Southern California. Long anticipated movement along the Pacific Rim is accelerating and governments are doing little to get the citizenry ready. I mention it not to alarm but to suggest that being prepared can help you weather the challenges. There are simple disaster strategies that each of us can master.

One of my earliest memories is of being in an earthquake as a toddler. As Mom swept my infant brother out of his high chair, she took my sister and I by the hand. Out we went to the backyard. I was too young to be afraid but never forgot my mother’s concern as we stood there watching our old Victorian house sway.

In high school I was once knocked out of bed by a pre-dawn trembler and shook in the doorway with my arms around my sister. A few books knocked off the shelves but everything, save our nerves, was well. Every morning for months I woke at the same time, waiting for it to happen again and wrestling with my fears. I knew it was not logical and finally found peace by vowing to become a survivor and be of service should I be caught in another disaster. I’ve renewed that vow recently.

From a growing list of disaster strategies for your home:

Panic is natural but clarity of mind is important in emergencies. To help in any crisis, I use a few drops of the homeopathic liquid, Rescue Remedy. A drop under the tongue helps your system calm. It’s safe for children. I’ve used it for years as my son grew from infancy to teen and it’s also helpful for animals. Add it to their water dishes. Rescue remedy comes in a small bottle, so its easy to keep in a disaster first aid kit. It’s commonly available at health food stores.

Use breathing techniques and stretches to stay calm and work stress hormones out of your body. Encourage your companions to do the same. There are dozens of ideas in the Drivetime Yoga book and audio.

Disaster strategies for the car:

Pack these in a light backpack and a couple of easy to carry recyclable bags in case you need to abandon your car.

  • Fresh bottles of water. Consider bringing enough for 3 days – a gallon a day is alot to carry but a 12 pack of small bottles should get you though.
  • Carry protein bars, nuts, a couple of cans of juice.
  • Carry a customized first aid kit. Be sure to include prescriptions, extra glasses, first aid creme and wipes.
  • A lightweight fleece blanket and small pillow, or a Mylar blanket for warmth and sleeping.
  • A change of clothes and shoes.
  • Remember to change these out every other month as the seasons change and recycle the water so you always carry fresh.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Hand-crank radio

If you’re driving and an earthquake occurs:

  • Stop as quickly as its safe. Pull over to the side of the road and stay in the car.
  • Don’t stop near or under buildings, trees, overpasses and utility wires.
  • Avoid driving across bridges or overpasses that have been damaged.
  • Proceed cautiously after the earthquake has stopped, watching for road and bridge damage.
  • If you are in a coastal area be aware of possible tsunamis and avoid parking in low lying areas.
  • Don’t drive, unless there is an emergency. Don’t go sightseeing through areas of damage. You will only get in the way of the relief effort. Streets need to be clear for the emergency vehicles.

Here are two valuable links to help you and your loved ones manage the challenges of natural disasters:

Travel Expert, Peter Greenberg: What you need to do before you leave home and have with you to weather disasters when traveling: http://www.petergreenberg.com/2010/03/30/dealing-with-disasters-when-you-travel/

FEMA’s car safety in an earthquake includes: http://www.pdc.org/pdf/preparedness/fema526.pdf

Copyright 2011, Elaine Masters, RYT, Trip Wellness Specialist and award-winning author of the original car yoga system – Drivetime Yoga, Flytime Yoga and Officetime Stretches. All available at: www.DrivetimeYoga.com