You’ve worked hard to get where you are today, right? I’m not saying that you have to live in a million-dollar home for that statement to be true. What I mean is that in your home, you probably have things you take for granted— loved ones (including pets), treasured photos, memorabilia, etc. Though some things can be replaced, others can’t. So why not take advantage of September being National Emergency Preparedness Month by taking the first step? The theme this year is “A Lasting Legacy”. Implement at least some, if not all, of the actions recommended on the U.S. government’s website ready.gov to protect yourself, your loved ones, your home, etc.
Types of Emergencies:
You may be thinking to yourself— I don’t live in a hurricane zone so I don’t need to take action. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. The website lists a variety of disasters/emergencies you should plan for including earthquakes, extreme heat, floods, home fires, and power outages among others. In fact, I can personally attest to the need to be prepared after my family and I were without power for nine days due to an ice storm when we lived in NH several years ago. So yes, it CAN happen to you! As a result, I’ll highlight some of the key things you can do to protect your legacy. For more details, click on each of the headings below.
You practiced these in school when you were a kid, right? But do you have a fire escape plan for your home? If not, follow their recommendations. My favorites are 1) making a plan (which includes a downloadable floor plan, 2) communicating it to all family members, and 3) having home fire drills— the goal of which is to get out within two minutes. Don’t be part of the 77% of families they cite without a fire escape plan. Become one of the 23% that do!
Below is an overview of the four-step action items they recommend:
- develop an emergency plan by discussing the key questions they recommend with family, friends, and/or household
- consider the special needs of your household which includes, but isn’t limited to age, those who need assistance, dietary needs, medical/prescription needs, languages spoken, pets or service animals, school-aged children, etc.
- fill out a Family Emergency Communication Plan
- practice the plan with family/household members
Emergencies and disasters can occur without warning. Since you don’t know where you’ll be if one occurs, be prepared to have a plan in place for locations you frequent including:
- vehicles (they brilliantly include a Commuter Emergency Plan download)
- places of worship, etc.
You need to know how to reach loved ones and where to meet if something goes terribly wrong. To get in front of this:
- Collect: Make a list of contact info for your family and other important people/offices (medical, doctors, schools, service providers, etc.)
- Share: Make sure you share with everyone so they have access to it 24/7 no matter where they are. If you use their online Family Emergency Communication Plan, you can even print it onto a wallet-sized card. Brilliant!
In addition to providing fantastic tips, they also recommend you sign up for the FEMA app and text messages.
If an emergency occurs, you may need to survive in your home (or evacuate) for several days. If so, you’ll need to have easy and immediate access to food, water, and other supplies since you may not have time to pull them together after the fact. Whether you need to build a kit from scratch or simply want a refresher, they make it easy with their checklist. Don’t forget to prepare a kit for home, work, and your vehicle since you don’t know where you may be if/when disaster strikes.
Think about it. Many people keep their critical documents in their homes. But should disaster strike and you lose access (either temporarily or permanently), you’re in big trouble. You need to have these critical documents at your fingertips whether in paper or digital format. The documents include but aren’t limited to household information, financial, legal, medical, contact information, valuables, etc. Take time now to pull this information together in one location using their checklists. And if you’re saying to yourself, that will be such a waste of my time if disaster doesn’t strike. Well, I urge you to look at it differently. None of us will live forever. You know where you keep all your critical information. But if/when something happens to you and someone needs to locate it on your behalf, will they know where to look? How long will it take them? Will they know what they’re looking for— paper, digital? Make life easy for your loved ones. Start to pull this information together today. Take the first step by checking out all their valuable resources. Need help pulling yours together? This is one of my favorite projects so don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Humans aren’t the only ones affected by disaster so you’ll need to plan for your furry, slimy, scaly friends, etc. as well. Did you know that many public shelters and hotels don’t allow pets? By creating a plan for them in advance, you’ll prevent lots of stress and confusion down the road. They also recommend building an emergency supply kit for your pet(s) as well and of course, they include an easy-to-use checklist.
This was just an overview of all the fantastic information you’ll find on the ready.gov website. Please start to protect your legacy today if you haven’t already. Make life easier for yourself and your loved ones by taking time today to prepare and get organized.
Are you thirsty for even more emergency preparation info? Feel free to read my blogs on….
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”Benjamin Franklin
LET ME HELP YOU:
Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the recommendations? Don’t. Why not break the project down into small, achievable components and tackle one per week? Start with the one that feels easiest. Having said that, which one would you tackle first? Please comment below– I’d love to hear (or help if you have questions)!
Brenda Tringali, CPO® (Certified Professional Organizer)
Organizing | Productivity | Speaker
At Your Fingertips Organizing
Serving Greater Myrtle Beach, SC or “virtually” anywhere via video
Brenda Tringali is the owner of At Your Fingertips Organizing. She provides Speaking, Organizing & Productivity services to Workplace/Residential clients both in person in the greater Myrtle Beach, SC area & “virtually” anywhere else via video, phone, etc. Brenda is an active member of NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing professionals) and the former Chair of NAPOCares, NAPO’s Social Responsibility Committee.