Last night I followed along on social media while my home state of NJ was pummeled by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. Just a few days ago we sat on edge watching Hurricane Ida wreak havoc on Louisiana. My heart goes out to everyone who is affected.
While it is hard to be prepared for everything that mother nature throws our way, there are some things you can do to be prepared in case of a disaster or emergency. Even more timely than this post is that September is designated by FEMA to be National Preparedness Month, and the theme this year is about protecting the ones you love. “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”
There really is not a better time to think about how prepared you are. If you are feeling less than prepared, now is a great time to take action. Let’s face it, thinking about things like natural disasters, fires, or any kind of disaster is not pleasant. But, taking some time to prepare is more essential than you think.
Create an Emergency Contact List
If you have school-age children, then you are more than familiar with filling out emergency contact forms. However, what if there was an emergency at home or at your business, what happens then? Use the same principles as the school list, and create one for your home, family, and business. Once you have created this list, communicate it, and post it in a place where others can easily find it.
Things to include:
- Local contacts
- Emergency numbers like poison control, doctors, and the vet
- How to report numbers for gas leaks, or water breaks
You can also create a smaller version that you keep in your wallet with important phone numbers. I can tell you from experience that this can really come in handy. And while you are at it, make a point to commit a few of those numbers to memory.
A bunch of years ago I accidentally locked myself out of the house. What made it worse was that my hubby was out of town, and my phone was in the house along with the keys. Normally my first reaction would be to call my go-to friend. However, I was so used to calling her from her contact on my cell phone that I had no idea what her phone number was. True story! I got lucky because at the time I was able to walk to my son’s daycare and they had her number as his emergency contact. Oh, and while you’re at it, practice those numbers with your kids.
Know Your Plan Before You Need It
Thanks to the smartphones most of us walk around with every day, we have access to real-time alerts. It’s probably a good time to check that you have these notifications turned on. Here’s some info I found about checking this on different types of phones – https://www.safety.com/news/how-to-turn-on-your-phones-emergency-alerts/.
What do you actually do if you do find yourself alerted to a potential emergency or disaster? First and foremost…trust the alert and trust your instincts. Second, this is where your emergency plan comes in.
Where do I shelter in my home? When do I evacuate, and where do I go? What is my evacuation route? What should I take with me? If you are shaking your head at these questions, you are not alone. Having a plan means having answers to these questions before you have to ask them.
Create an Emergency Preparedness Kit
Now is a good time to think about assembling an emergency preparedness kit. Having the right supplies, food, and water on hand are the key ingredients of this emergency kit. In addition, make sure you take into account the individual needs of your family when building this emergency kit. Think about your specific needs (medical, religious, dietary) and make a plan for addressing these needs when and if it’s necessary.
Ready.gov has put together a comprehensive list of what to include in your emergency preparedness kit. You can find that list here – https://www.ready.gov/kit.
If you would prefer a pre-assembled kit, you can find quite a few on Amazon at various price points. If your plan includes purchasing one of these kits, assess the contents and make the price point decision based on your individual means and needs. Then familiarize yourself with the contents so you are not blindsided if you actually need to use the kit.
It’s never too early to be prepared for a disaster or emergency. This September through National Preparedness month Ready.gov is making it easy to work on your plan. For more information, head on over to their website – https://www.ready.gov/plan – to find more helpful tips and information.
Head on over to my Printables page to find a free downloadable Emergency Contact Printable. This template is ready for you to print, fill out, and hang in an appropriate place in your home.