National Preparedness Month is not until September, but why wait until then to be ready for anything? June 1st is the first day of hurricane season. For many, wildfire danger has already begun. There are also tornados, earthquakes, volcano eruptions…Mother Nature sure knows how to throw it at us! But what about man-made disasters? A car crash knocks out a utility pole, which cuts off your electricity. A terrorist takes out a power grid, causing you to lose utilities and internet. I don’t want to scare you, but are you ready for whatever the universe might bring your way?
Two Sundays ago, a couple of teenagers rolled their car on a curve in our subdivision and crashed into a utility pole. They knocked out electricity and phones in our subdivision for eight hours. We couldn’t open the refrigerator or freezer since we didn’t know when we’d get power back, and we didn’t want the food to go to waste by letting the cold air out. Fortunately, we keep bottled water and snacks on hand. We were also lucky that we’d just gone to the grocery store the day before and had plenty of snacks to choose from. We used our laptops and internet until our battery back-ups died, and then we were literally unplugged. It can be relaxing if it’s for a short amount of time. But what if you have to do this for several days? And what if you hadn’t just gone to the grocery store?
National Preparedness Month was started by the Department of Homeland Security. Their motto is Prepare, Plan, Stay Informed. For important details and checklists, go to www.ready.gov. Part of preparing is organizing your home and office – knowing where supplies are and making sure they’re consolidated and easy to grab in an emergency.
Are your first aid supplies in a tub or pouch that can be scooped up on the run? Are your important documents in one central location so that you don’t have to waste time hunting them down? If actor Chris Evans gives you a plane ticket and an invitation to a gala this weekend in London, do you know where your passport is? (There are good emergencies, too!) The important thing is to know where things are and be able to find them in no time.
I also highly recommend that you have a home inventory so that in the event of a disaster, you’ll know exactly what you own (or no longer own) and what the value of the items are. This can be done in electronic format and saved onto your computer hard drive or saved securely via an online service like HomeZada. For even more protection, consider having a company like Alamo Area Virtual Tours photograph and/or video your inventory for insurance purposes.
If you’re going to shelter in place, do you have supplies on hand so you can live comfortably enough without utilities for at least a few days? Fresh water and non-perishable food should be at the top of your supplies list. Remember to include your pet’s supplies in your plan.
If you own your own business, work will probably not be top of mind for at least the first day. Are you ready for that? What contingency plans does your company have in place in the event of an emergency?
We all hope that we never have to put emergency plans into place, but it’ll feel good to know that you’re ready for anything.