While holding up in the basement one evening, I was tweeting about the storm and huge hail that was pounding the window. I offered to share my preparedness list on social media when Bonnie from Beverly Hills suggested it would make a great blog entry. What a fabulous idea! So, here it is.
As you know, my background is in disaster recovery and business continuity. With weather patterns seeming more erratic and tornado season in full swing, I decided to update the list — the result of many years of preparedness research. In addition to it being my business in a former lifetime, I want my family and YOU to plan for the unexpected … whether it be severe weather, biological hazard, blackout, earthquake (Ohio is on a fault), fire, pandemic, temperature extremes, tornado, or war.
Some time ago (during a snow storm), I tried to spread ‘thought seeds’ encouraging people to think about what can happen. It’s a fun exercise when we get to play with an idea versus being in the thick of a situation. There are many circumstances not in our control, but there are many that are – that’s what I try to focus on. My philosophy is that when we plan for an event, we’re more likely to experience it with a little more grace. Here’s the resulting blog post, Over Plan and Underutilize.
So, let’s get started. Here are beginning steps to help you survive unexpected situations (mentioned in the second paragraph).
- At your bedside, keep a flashlight and pair of shoes
- Pack a grab-n-go bag (also known as a bug-out bag) and keep it nearby. I’ll have more about what contents to pack in a later blog post, but for now: Have an extra set of keys to your vehicle, water to drink, energy bars, a supply of medications (if you rely on them now), and a good pair of walking shoes.
- Discuss contingency plans with your family. Example: Plan A is everyone meets at home. If they can’t get home then Plan B is to go to Aunt Lou’s house. If they can’t get to Aunt Lou’s then Plan C is going to the Meijer’s on Sunbury Road (something open 24 hours). The idea here is that roads may not be open or travel-friendly (example, debris). If traffic is jammed, walking may be in order. Get the idea?
- Within your home, everyone should know where and how to turn off electric, gas, and water. If tools are required, a set needs to be readily available.
- Have you heard of ICE contacts? ICE (in case of emergency) contacts should be input to your mobile phone. Example: ICE1 Fire (with name, phone numbers, emails if known, and address). ICE2 Police. ICE 3 Spouse. ICE4 Parents. ICE5 Children. ICE6 Work contact, and so on. In the unfortunate event, emergency services or hospital personnel need to contact someone on your behalf – they’ll look in your phone directory for ICE contacts. P.S. Notify your emergency contacts that you have them listed and keep this list current.
- Inventory your home. Whether you have a physically written list or a video log … maintain a record of contents. The ideal list includes the item, when and where purchased, and how much it cost. Of course, original receipts are helpful. While you’re at it (especially on video) include any family or sentimental history. Consider doing this with photos and memorabilia too!
- Talk with your neighbors. What are their plans? If you can’t get home will they turn off utilities or take care of your pets? If they can’t get home, how can you help them?
- Hold family drills. Brainstorm what to do during a biological attack. What is each person’s role? Then talk through your plan as though it is happening. Who steps in for each person if they aren’t there to help (called a backup plan)? What can each person do when a blackout happens? Where will supplies be? Have a drill for earthquake, fire, pandemic, and tornado scenarios. What will you need that you don’t have? When will you make those purchases? Maybe place items on your wish list? Most important is to work on your plans, and plan your work – in other words, figure out what can be done in month one, month two, and so on. It’s also good to review your plans periodically (once every six months or more often). Practice builds confidence.
- If you have pets, they’ll pick up on your energy so if you’re concerned, they’ll be concerned. Think about their safety in advance. Examples: Have a pillowcase handy for birds (then they won’t harm themselves); or for dogs, pets, or other walking pets – keep a leash on the doorknob and have a cage handy. Anticipate animals will panic, then fly or run away.
- Eliminate earthquake hazards such as open shelves, cupboard doors that aren’t latched, and large furniture that might fall over. Secure things to walls or install latches. I’ve seen beautiful dishes dance across countertops and crash to the floor during an earthquake. In one case, a man had a wall of swords fall to the floor. Luckily, no one was in the room. Look at your walls and surface tops. What hazards are possible? Are there items to pack safely away?
- Discuss your home-evacuation list. In the event you’re told you need to evacuate, what are the ‘must takes’ – pictures, pets, family heirlooms, etc., that can’t be replaced (because stuff can be replaced). Make it easy on yourself. Instead of binders of pictures, scan them onto a memory stick. Do the same with important papers and medical information. I’ll have more about this in a future blog post.
- Ensure your last will and testament is current. Everyone should have a will!
So there are a few suggestions. Will you do a favor for me? Offer suggestions or insights. If you find this information helpful, please let me know. If I don’t hear anything, then I’ll assume this isn’t a worthy topic (then parts two and beyond may not get posted). It’s up to you!
May you be exceedingly, generously, and joyfully blessed,©