We hope to never have to implement any emergency preparedness measures. But things don’t always go as planned: so here’s some simple tips to help you ride out any unforeseen civil unrest or natural disaster here in Tanzania.
A little disclaimer: these are tips that may not always apply to your own unique situation.
Are you registered?
Firstly, does your home country know you’re in Tanzania? It’ll be a lot easier for them to help you if they know you’re here. That being said, don’t rely on them to help you — you should also have your own plan.
Are you insured for evacuations?
If you’ve got insurance, do you know what it covers? (While you’re thinking about insurance, file away an updated list of all your belongings here in Tanzania for your household insurance.)
Is your home secure?
Do your doors and windows lock? Do you have a security guard? Do you know his name? Do you have the contact info for your security company? In the event of a home invasion, do you know which room you would hide in? Have you practiced getting to your safe room? Can you get to it from multiple places in your house in case one route is blocked?
Can you stay in your home for a week?
In an emergency, shops will be closed or have run out of supplies. Do you have all the supplies necessary to survive at your home for a week? That means, do you have enough water, food and cooking gas for you and your family? A few extra cans of beans and rice will go a long way in an emergency.
Do you have an escape route?
Can you get from your home to the airport or your embassy? Think of all the possible routes you could take, in case one or more routes are blocked. Talk with your family about ‘rendezvous points’ in case you become separated.
Other than evacuating, think about places within Tanzania you could go to get out of Dar for a while. Lushoto anyone? Those WW1 era German hideouts are still there.
Have you got a ‘go bag’ with all your short term necessities? Imagine if you’ve gotten from your home to the airport in a natural disaster and now have to wait 48 hours at JNIA for an airlift. What medications, cash to pay for evacuation, clothes and important documents would you need? A few non-perishable snacks, a good book, a flashlight and other tools can come in very handy as well.
In a worst case scenario, banks won’t be open. Can you liquidate enough of your assets or get a hold of enough cash to not only get you out of the country, but sustain you for an extended period of time abroad? Have you got access to cash or bank accounts outside Tanzania? Consider how you would survive elsewhere for 6 months.
Those unstoppable Nokia phones that never die are good for something. Consider keeping one charged in your go bag.
The last word
Use common sense. Lots of it. Avoid crowds and trouble spots, especially after dark. Keep calm. Breathe deeply. Odds are you’ll never have to use this information.