The news as of late does a great job reminding me why preparedness really does need to be an everyday focus. We’ve clearly seen that we can’t stop thinking about preparedness just because we are going on a vacation to Paris. Look at the consequences that so many are enduring all because of a volcano from across the ocean. In reviewing the 10 Principles of Preparedness and comparing it to those who are stranded in airports or international cities, look at which aspects of Preparedness they are challenged with.
Spiritual, yup. It’s very trying as we are forced to make friends with hundreds of strangers quickly. Only ones belief system will provide a measure of sanity and peace.
Mental, yup. A great trial for many is occupying their mind. Some were well served by thinking soon enough of alternative ways to travel to their desired destination. Some were well served by mentally anticipating possible obstacles on their trip. Their skills and mental fortitude will enable them to ride out this curve ball that life has thrown them.
Physical, yes, indeed. There are a great many physical challenges caused by a lack of sleep and a dependence on cigarettes, caffeine, and other stimulants.
Medical—serious problem there. For those who took just enough medication on their trip, there could be more serious problems looming. I wonder what the newspaper stories would read like if all they did was focus on the medical need this travel interruption is causing. All of the thousands and thousands of dollars being spent by stranded passengers as they have to rely on ambulatory or emergency services all because of this unprecedented travel delay. To make matters worse, the availability of something as simple as water and reliable sanitation services has compromised the airports entire sewage system. I cringe to think that there may be persons traveling who are ill who are spreading it to the masses that they are now stranded with in the airports or elsewhere.
Clothing/Shelter, oh yeah. In fact, this is the most draining need on the airport and cities where travelers are stranded. Simply having a place to sleep in safety is sorely compromised as many attempt to sleep on an airport floor with the television voices looming. Along these same lines, let’s not forget the aspect of sanitation that is causing an enormous taxation on the available facilities. I’ve frequently read of passengers begging for something as simple as a towel so that they can bathe suitably in a sink. Imagine the plight of the mothers with their children in tow who ran out of diapers, never foreseeing this series of events.
Fuel, yes! (Remember, fuel is power as well) Many stranded passengers are claiming that the air is thick, sticky, and hot due to an over taxation of the environmental conditioning systems. Usually the space they are stranded in gets a break overnight to aerate out all of the highly used air. But not now. It’s getting recycled at the same pace as it usually is and as best as I can tell, nothing is being done to take into consideration the need for any environmental control changes.
Water and food needs are definitely going unmet—for all ages. Think of the parents with children in tow, thinking that they only needed to feed them for a day or so during their travels. Now all of the sudden they’ve got to pay top dollar just for the most basic of nutrition while they wait out this act of nature. All stranded travelers are left with what their pocketbooks can afford. Most are attempting to stay close by to the airport in the event that they are able to get out sooner. This means that they are also staying close to the most exorbitant prices for food. How I’m sure many of them wish they had stashed just a little bit more comfort food, a water container, or other like preparations before they left home. Having two dogs, I cringe at the thought that someone has to endure these circumstances with a furry companion nearby. How absolutely stressful this scenario must be.
Financial Preparedness—wow. Who would have thought that the forced stay in the airport would take up nearly as much money as the entire trip?! And yet that is what many passengers are reporting. Not to mention the terrible financial hit that the airports are taking in losing over $200 million dollars per day! No wonder they are being a bit stingy with the handing out of peanuts, blankets, pillows, etc to their stranded travelers. Those who work for the airlines no doubt will receive some type of compensation during their forced stay on the ground, but imagine the trickle effect that this grounding has on employed persons. Unable to get back to their jobs. Unable to perform their contracted services. As an employer there’s only so much one can do before they have to say “I’m sorry, but I have to hire someone else because I have a business to run.” The consequences of this delay brings not only lost revenue, but unrecoverable revenue to an industry and a people that can ill abide it.
Communication—All I can say is thank goodness there are still pay phones at the airports (for the most part). Imagine what would have happened, or what kind of troubleshooting could take place, without the need for communication. Even the simplest of communication between one human being to another is important to our survival.
So, in hindsight, I simple encourage us all to stop and think before we take a *harmless* trip. There is much that can go wrong. Your job is to be as prepared for them as possible.
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