Emergency Preparedness Month

Where did we get the idea that routines create tired old habits of the same old-same old thing? Good routines and habits can be instrumental in keeping things fresh! 

In our personal and professional lives, a thoughtful routine allows a framework from which we can build and flex in our daily lives. Habits create no brainer actions that leave us with spare 'thought energy' - decision making capacity.

Like jeans and a black t-shirt that can be easily dressed up with a scarf or dressed down with a hoodie based in the occasion, your emergency preparedness planning creates a framework that you can depend on no matter what level of  'disaster' you face.

As we kick off September as Emergency Preparedness Month, I am attending a conference, sharpening my pencils for Everyday Providence.  This conference is  part of my framework to prepare for another year of sharing, building, encouraging and writing to help you stay safe and sound this year. 

What habits and routines can you put in place this month to start building your family's preparedness framework? 

Start a shelf-stable pantry
Build your disaster kit
Store up a water supply
Write down your emergency plan
Begin planning for a disaster at work
Take a training class
Volunteer to help in a time of need

Don't assume "they" have got it covered!

 Photo: Jeremiah Beck
When other people know that you enjoy something, it's so easy to share that thing with you.  A short list of words (bacon, wine, pirates, beer, science, pumpkins, and penguins) creates an instant picture in my mind of the faces of family and friends that go with each of those items.  I am the disaster/safety/weather person in my social circles.  So, a friend sent me this photo that they took of a fire escape.

Would you want to depend on this fire escape to save your life?  In a hurry, who knows what might happen when you hit those rickety rusted-through steps.

I love this real life reminder that we are each responsible for our own safety and for our own provision and for our neighbor's safety as well.  Sure, there are building codes, safety laws, and security personnel, and they are there to protect us.  But it only takes a few minutes to assess your own situation, to walk through a couple of safety routines, and to address any problems you discover.

Know your risks and likely hazards.  Know how to stay safe wherever you are.  And make sure you do your part, in case someone else hasn't done theirs.

I'd give up my toothbrush, my pillow and clean socks for _______.

I'd give up my toothbrush, my pillow and clean socks for _______.

How would you fill in the blank? For this discussion, we'll assume you and your family are safe and sound, merely displaced or stranded temporarily from the disaster that blew past your home.  What would you crave?  What would calm you in the midst of chaos?  What yearning would grow in the hours as you wait for things to return to normal?  What one thing could "make everything bearable?"

Chewing gum?  Hot coffee? A ponytail holder? Some hand lotion? Chocolate? A deck of cards? A bible?

Now... how would the rest of your family fill in the black?

A blankie? A teddy bear? Fruit snacks? A video game? A good book? Their music? Candyland? A box of Legos?

For most of us, surviving a disaster will not be a life and death ordeal, but how we feel in uncertain times will certainly be remembered.  You can take steps today to ensure that your heart and mind stay safe after an emergency by adding a few items to your Disaster Kit that will bring hope and warmth and smiles to difficult circumstances.

An Out of Town Emergency Contact Ties It All Together

As you build your Emergency Plan, make designating an out of town emergency contact one of your first priorities.  (Do this immediately after making your detailed list of the people included in your Emergency Plan.) For some of us, the identity of out of town is a "no-brainer."  For others, it may require some thought.  Use these suggestions to help you narrow down the best out of town contact for your family.

They need to be somewhat available. Although this person probably won't need to come rescue you, they may have several people contacting them.  They need to have the time, patience, and availability to communicate with many people, even some that they might not know.

Getting Prepared - "I probably should, but..."

We all know that we ought to prepare at least a little bit for something, right?  If you've watched much  television or Googled disaster preparedness, you know that there are plenty of people out there who seem to be going WAY OVER THE TOP.  That discussion is a whole other post. Today, I hope that I can clarify  the simplest way to get started with the right amount of preparedness for your family and your situation.

Imagine... you can't leave your house for 3 days AND you have no utilities or services (no power, no water, no natural gas, no cable, no phone service, no mail, no deliveries) AND the businesses within walking distance are closed, too.

What would you need?  Where is a flashlight?  Do you have extra batteries? Do you have enough water to drink?  What do you have to eat, will it spoil without power?  How are you going to cook it?  Can you stay warm (or cool) and dry enough?  Is everyone else ok? Do you have enough of your prescription medication?  Enough diapers? Enough chocolate?