Maintaining hope through unexpected disasters

Turning Points 3 min read

Create a lifeline for unexpected events

Every day, every year, disasters occur without warning—whether it’s in our communities or globally. You see areas impacted by natural catastrophes that—in the blink of an eye—can trigger changes in our lives. And yet, many people still underestimate the ripple effect on how disasters can affect them. Even fewer people prepare for these possibilities. It becomes a constant roll of the dice to see if something happens or not.

What we learn from catastrophes

Let’s consider modern-day realities for communities torn apart by powerful, natural elements (hurricanes, flooding, fires, and mud slides). The random aspects of these situations—and the outcomes—are shocking reminders that you’re never fully prepared for what can occur. Minimally, it’s clear you should have a foundation of protection in place to get through some hardships if your world turns upside-down. What, if anything, can be done to help minimize life-changing consequences?

When and why planning matters

Regardless of all the preparation in the world, there’s always the unknown—or “X” factor (planning)—that plays a role in the aftermath. The examples below illustrate the benefits and unfortunate outcomes from limited resources or planning:

  • In January 1994, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Los Angeles. There was significant damage to the area and approximately 55 people died.[1]
  • In January 2010, a similar earthquake (magnitude 7.0) ravaged Port-au-Prince in Haiti. It killed over 300,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless.[2]

Why is there such a vast difference? Two common factors are environment and resources.

In this case, Haiti had a decided disadvantage without the proper construction, financial resources, or recovery plan to literally “weather the storms.” However, given its history of earthquakes and other environmental issues, Los Angeles took that information, gathered the resources, conducted emergency planning, and constructed its buildings to minimize casualties and destruction in their area. The results between the two situations emphasize the value of planning and resources.

From catastrophe to recovery

Now, let’s bring things a little closer to home by looking at our own lives. Planning for the unexpected is important throughout our lives, yet we may not think enough about it before it’s too late.

While we might live in a diverse world, we’re all still very similar.

  • We want to protect our families and homes, and from there, everything is secondary.
  • Devastation and hardships don’t discriminate. Regardless of your age, race, job, or financial circumstances, everyone is at risk of having their lives completely disrupted by loss.

Then, there’s the glass-half-full view before and after a disaster that can reset your outlook of the world—and your life. Such as:

  • Communities come together for protection, to comfort one another, and to rebuild. They find simple solutions to get through challenges around them, and in the midst, discover the compassion of everyday heroes.
  • Understanding what all people need most are the “basics”—family and friends, shelter, food, and electricity.
  • Survival through it all takes patience, motivation and hope.

Now ask yourself, if something were to happen to you:

  • Have you taken the right precautions to ensure your loved ones wouldn’t be financially destroyed?
  • Would they have enough to maintain “the basics,” keep daily life moving forward, and make a gradual recovery possible?
  • Are you willing to take risks without the proper preparation or plan in place—or more important, are you willing to make that decision for others you care about?

If not, then understand a life insurance policy can help ensure you have a foundation, resources, and a plan to manage some, if not all, of that for those you love. For them, recovery will take time—and likely longer than you’d imagine. So, take some control over what may come your way in life. Be selfless in protecting your loved ones, and—in doing so—you too can become an everyday hero.

[1] “The Northridge Earthquake: 20 Years Ago Today,” The Atlantic, January 17, 2014

[2] “Deadliest earthquakes in the past decade,” USA Today, September 20, 2017

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