By Patrick Hughes
Mineral County Emergency Manager
I have lived in rural Nevada for nearly all my life. I love the area and the people. I have also been involved in emergency preparedness in some form nearly all my life. That is why I made the post on the Mineral County Emergency Management Facebook page. Not only do I want to be as ready as possible, but I want to help others to be so. I honestly want to know what people are thinking and what their concerns are so hopefully I can help ease those concerns. We live in a great area: mountains, deserts, lakes, small rivers, and streams. It is beautiful! But this also means that there is a wide variety of hazards, some very different from what you would see in an urban setting and so rather particular to our area, that we need to be aware of and ready to handle when the time arrives.
If I have learned anything from personal preparation and working in this line of work it is the following: 1) It is never a matter of if, but when! Recent events, both natural and man-made, have made this very evident. Some of the emergencies and incidents we have seen just over the last ten years were not even thought of twenty to thirty years ago. Both the earth and the people on it are changing. Whether these changes are for the good or bad isn’t the issue here, not that I’m downplaying the impact of the good or the bad both on the individual and society, but the issue for this topic is simply realizing that it truly isn’t a matter of if something will change or happen, but when. 2) Preparation is the foundation of success and resiliency! Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge advocate of that old scout motto “Be Prepared”. I am also a huge proponent of self-reliance and believe the two concepts work hand in hand. With that, let me say here and now that self-reliance does not mean not asking for help. In point of fact, it means doing everything you can yourself and asking for help when you need it! But don’t forget that first part of the term. I believe that we, each and every one of us, have a responsibility to ourselves to make ourselves as prepared as possible for anything that may come our way. Remember that old adage “it is better to have something and not need it than to not have something and need it”? Now understand that being prepared is not a ‘one-shot-all-in’ occurrence, but happens over time. No one will ever be totally prepared for anything. But being as prepared as possible is achievable and necessary. Which leads to number, 3) Self-reliance is a must! It is no question that in a large-scale event aid will come, the question is that of when? So it is a ‘doctrine’, for lack of a better term, in the world of emergency preparedness that everyone should have enough supplies on hand to take care of yourself and your immediate family for three to five days. I personally teach that it should be 7 days. Depending on the type and severity of an event, local government resources will be doing the best they can but can become easily overwhelmed, and federal aid will take time to organize and mobilize. This is why we as citizens need to take the initiative to learn all that we can, practice what we learn, and begin gathering supplies as soon as possible. There are many resources out there to help with emergency preparation education and supplies. And again, remember that this doesn’t happen overnight! Let’s be honest, it can be expensive. What’s the best way to eat an elephant…bite by bite. Approach Self-reliance the same way, bite by bite.
I think of being prepared and self-reliant as a puzzle. Take it step by step, day by day, and piece by piece. It may not seem like much but one day you will look at what you have done to secure the safety of yourself and your loved ones and say, “Wow, this is amazing!” The more prepared one is the greater their peace-of-mind for the future will become. As I said in my post on Facebook, together we can make our community safer and more resilient not only for all who live here, and our visitors as well, by working together. It is my hope that we can do this, and that I can help in even the smallest way.