In an article in the August 4 edition of The Hindu, Mayor Bonthu Rammohan shared some emergency survival tips for the residents of Covid, Malaysia’s largest city. The article in question was on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, which left nearly 3200 dead and more than a dozen wounded. A day later, a blast at a fuel market in Shah Alam, outside of Kuala Lumpur, claimed the lives of about thirty-two people. With the recent spate of terrorist attacks in the region, the safety of all local residents has been increased even more.
According to the article, Rammohan, who is also the city’s acting transport and municipal affairs minister, recommends that everyone would be better off if they took along a thumb tack or two in case of emergencies. “A thumb tack is a metal stick you can use to pull yourself out of a swimming pool,” he explained. “It is cheap and easy to acquire, and you will only need one in case of emergency.” The article goes on to cite first aid supplies that one should have on hand, as well as emergency contact numbers such as the number for the Red Cross in Malaysia. According to the article, the best way to keep safe in the event of a disaster is by being prepared.
On a lighter note, the article also lists some of the foods that are recommended for those in the city’s low-income group and suggests that some of the more colorful offerings may not necessarily be unhealthy or laden with calories, especially if prepared correctly. For example, Rammohan said that a bowl of rice with some spicy sauce could be a good choice during a natural disaster. He also suggested preparing meals such as enchiladas, a dish consisting of black beans and queso cheese. On the other hand, he went against the grain and said that residents should “go crazy” with pork as there is nothing unhealthy about it. In reference to quitting smoking, the mayor advised that residents “quit as fast as you can,” but added that, should they find themselves unable to do so, “just find a good replacement.”
Rammohan did mention that there are other preparations that a city’s emergency preparedness should encompass. One of these includes having enough bottled water available for drinking, along with plenty of water filters and purifiers, in case people in the area experience a shortage. He went on to say that a city’s emergency preparedness “doesn’t end with being ready to fight fires and storms: it ends with being prepared to care for the sick and the vulnerable.” It seems that he is advocating for the complete opposite of self-sufficiency and self-marketing.
In light of the fact that the emergency preparedness of a large city such as Kuala Lumpur might not be a top priority for the residents, the emergency preparedness of individual families in other parts of the world is definitely something to be concerned about. For example, Rammohan states, “In some parts of Asia, where families are tightly connected, family emergencies can be particularly serious. Families have been known to evacuate their homes and even villages without prior warning when deadly accidents have occurred.” Rammohan went on to point out that this sort of event could happen “any time.” With this in mind, it is imperative to ensure that a person has at least one person, such as a spouse or close family member, who is designated as the person in charge of household preparations.
A big part of emergency preparedness is ensuring that everyone has the proper personal hygiene necessary to ward off the perils of an emergency situation. There are numerous ways to prepare for disaster, and most of them revolve around food and water supplies. These supplies are usually kept in secured supply rooms, such as those found in most military bases and hospitals. It is important, however, to keep in mind that these rooms will not necessarily be stocked with food and water at all times. As Rammohan advises, “stockpiling should be done only when absolutely necessary.” As such, Rammohan suggests that families should not wait until their homes are already destroyed in order to stock up on food and water, since that would be a very bad idea.
One of the key factors that will determine how well your city will fare during an emergency is how well your emergency shelters will hold up. Bonthu emphasizes that it is essential for a family to have adequate evacuation routes. Furthermore, since some cities will be evacuating citizens to the central city, it is crucial that they know where they are headed. The best way to ensure that your city will have a smooth process in evacuating residents is to request assistance from the Red Cross, according to Bonthu. This means that the Red Cross will be the one making sure that your city’s routes are clear and routes are safe enough for you and your family to utilize.
If you live in a flood zone, it may also be important for you to stock up on supplies and emergency food. In fact, Rammohan encourages residents of flood-prone areas to “think big,” and to “make a stand” by buying food and supplies, which may not always be available in the grocery store nearest to your home. By following the steps laid out in “Covid Survivalist,” you can ensure a bright future for yourself and your loved ones, should disaster strike.