September is National Preparedness Month. This was apparently started by FEMA, though I am more aware of it as something that NAPO promotes. I was fortunate to attend a webinar last year on this very subject and there is another one being held later this month, hosted by our local NAPO chapter.
Being prepared can be a scary thing. We are preparing for the worst. It is something easy to avoid, putting off since it can be uncomfortable to tackle. Not unlike writing a will! Yet, getting those important papers in order, finding a safe place to keep them is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and our loved ones for that potential emergency situation.
I was just commenting to a client the other day that it was wonderful she had all the important papers together and knew right where they were. Her comment to me was that she’d probably not even remember to grab them on her way out the door. We went on to talk about the idea of having photocopies with her and the originals in a safe deposit box. She did not completely give herself credit for having those things altogether.
The first step is to gather the important things in one place – make a kit. This is more than gathering just those important papers together, it is also the supplies you might need. Living in the Midwest, though certainly not limited to here, as the season change and the cold sets in, I look at the car supplies. I am talking about the blankets and snack bars that will live in the trunk until the weather warms up again. I know this one hazard and am taking steps to be safe if something would happen.
Yet, this is not the only thing to be prepared for, as we have the potential for flooding and tornadoes. If we are faced with needing to leave the house fast, we need to have supplies with us when we go. This is why it is a good idea to have a kit ready to go, or almost all ready, then we can grab it as we head out.
The second step is to make a plan. This means that every member of the family knows the person to contact in case of emergency and how to find each other. The last thing you want when dealing with some emergency is to not know whether everyone is safe or how you will find each other.
The last step is to be informed. This also means confronting your fears, finding out what risks there might be that you are unaware of – apparently there is a place in California known as “Tornado Alley.” I lived in California for a total of 12 years and just recently found this out!
It can be hard to prepare for an emergency. We all want to think that it will not happen to us. It is certainly not something that demands our attention. If we don’t do it, nothing bad is necessarily going to happen to us. On the other hand, if we do it, we can rest easy that it was handled the best possible and reduce the stress from the event itself. Now, I need to go find a backpack to set aside for the water and a whistle to put into our kit.