Stranded Traveler Preparedness

snow, airplane, travel

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 the winter season behaving like a winter season. How about all of the travelers all over the world that were stranded in 2010, all because a volcano in Iceland from across the ocean blew its top?

So, today I chose to review the 10 Principles of Preparedness, and see if or how they applied to the scenario of a stranded traveler, because we sure are seeing all kinds of “stranded scenarios” not the least of which taking place in airports all over the world. It doesn’t take much to interrupt as vulnerable of a system as mass transit is in our world, and Mother Nature definitely has the upperhand on what happens when we travel.  So, when the second major snowstorm in less than a month has paralyzed neighborhoods all over the U.S., I thought it would be a great  time to look at which aspects of Preparedness do we need to consider in the interest of being prepared for such an occassion.

Principle #1: Spiritual Preparedness: Yup. It’s very trying as we are forced to make friends with hundreds of strangers amidst such vulernable and stressful circumstances. To put it simply, ones belief system will provide a measure of sanity and peace that simply won’t come from ANYTHING else amidst this kind of crisis.

Principle #2: Mental Preparedness: Yup. A great trial for many in such circumstances is finding ways to occupy their mind instead of dwelling on changing that which they are powerless to change. 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 and having contingencies. Their skills and mental fortitude will enable them to ride out this curve ball that life has thrown them with very little inconvenience.

Principle #3: Physical Preparedness: Yes, it does indeed come into play here. There are a great many physical challenges that come into play when one becomes sleep deprived or they are unable to feed their dependence on cigarettes, caffeine, and other stimulants that shall remain nameless. Physical Preparedness also includes one’s personal physical safety and security.  I’ll never forget the stories I read from some of the evacuees from Hurricane Katrina, and what crimes women and even children were subjected to while seeking safety and refuge in the various places of shelter.

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Principle #4: Medical Preparedness: This is where things become emotionally taxing quickly.  For those who took just enough medication on their trip, there could be more serious problems looming because they will run out early or they packed the lions share of it in their checked luggage. (Something I would NEVER do for security purposes, but I know it still happens).  I wonder what the newspaper stories would read like if all they did was focus on the medical needs that the travel interruptions caused? That would be eye-opening, wouldn’t it?  Imagine 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 is the first to break down in such a scenario like this. Airports and other mass transit services are designed to move people, not to give them food, water, clothing, bed, and non-stop toilets. Imagine how easily the crumbling infrastructure will manifest itself in the sewer systems of the airports? I cringe to think that there may be persons traveling who are ill and contagious and who are spreading it to the masses that they are now stranded with in the airports, bus terminals, and train stations.  The noro virus broke out in alarming numbers amidst the evacuees from Hurricane Katrina in the shelters.


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