Friday, July 12, 2013

Everything I Need To Know About Public Health Preparedness, I Learned From "Sharknado"

If you were on twitter last night, you might have witnessed the phenomenon that was "Sharknado".  You take a corny Syfy disaster movie, add in Tara Reid and Ian Ziering (of 90's fame in "American Pie" and "Beverly Hills, 90210" respectively) and it becomes something great!

In the midst of a rare California hurricane, super tornadoes suck up sharks from the ocean and hurl them around the Los Angeles area.  There is flooding, wind, debris, and sharks swimming in the streets.

While the movie was outrageous (as expected), this tweet from the Red Cross got me thinking about its surprisingly relevant public health preparedness messages:

#1:  Always Be Prepared  
Over and over, the lead character Fin (Ian Ziering) tells his kids "Semper Paratus".  That is Latin for "always prepared".  That is the key to preparedness- as evidenced by FEMA's slogan on "Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed".

#2:  Prepare For The Unexpected
Los Angeles is more well known for its earthquakes than its hurricanes.  In fact, the article "Is there science behind 'Sharknado'?", tells us that a hurricane has never hit Los Angeles and we must go back to 1858 to find a hurricane that hit southern California.  However, just because your town has never had a historic hurricane, tornado, or fire does not mean you should not prepare for one.  Everyone should have an emergency plan in place.  You never know!

#3:  Evacuate And Get To Higher Ground
After waves and flying sharks shattered the windows of Fin's beach bar in Santa Monica, they hightailed it out of there and drove to higher ground!  My only critique is that they drove through some very flooded streets.  Remember, "Turn Around, Don't Drown" is a National Weather Service campaign to warn people about the dangers of walking or driving a vehicle through flood waters.

#4:  Check On Friends And Family
Although April (Tara Reid) demanded that her ex-husband Fin leave her alone and that the storm was "just a little rain", he came anyway.  And good thing that he did!  Otherwise, she and daughter Claudia may have been eaten by the shark swimming in their pool or crushed when their house collapsed in the flooding.

#5:  Shop For The Emergency Supply Kit Essentials
While FEMA offers a great list of kit essentials, it was fun to watch the Sharknado crew add a few more creative items like chainsaws and bombs.  Whether or not you saw the movie, I highly recommend that you check out this GIF of Fin, a shark, and a chainsaw.

Tell Me What You Think:

  • What was your favorite scene from Sharknado?
  • What other public health preparedness lessons did you learn?

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