5 Small Starts for Emergency Preparedness

small ways to prepare for an emergency

 

September is Emergency Preparedness Month for good reason.  We have faced emergencies for many years and these seem to be more frequent and more intense. At the same time emergencies frighten and overwhelm us.  Now’s the time for us to button up our resources and start small.  Some of the simplest ways to prepare are the best and here are 5 small starts to begin.

Family contacts

Online connections are easy until the power or cell service goes out.  Create a spreadsheet of family contacts and print it out. Include in your sheet cell and home phones, email addresses, physical addresses and other contact information.  Keep this spreadsheet in a kitchen or office top drawer to access.

 

Create an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit  (EFFAK)

Finances and access to funds seem easy, like simply heading to the ATM for funds. That is not always the case in an emergency.  Begin preparing your Emergency Financial Fist Aid Kit with these instructions. Most importantly, keep $500 in cash, in dollar, five dollar, ten dollar and twenty dollar bills.  Funds are hard to access if there is no power.

 

Prep your Emergency Supply Kits

Prepare kits for all the places you will be, whether at home, at work or in the car.  Your kits should include supplies for a minimum of three days worth of food and water.  Other essentials include battery radio, flashlight, batteries, first aid, medicines and toiletries. Refresh these kits annually.

 

Family plan

Family plans can be communicated during family meetings.  Talking about the plan makes it less scary and easy to accomplish. Your family plan should include where to meet if there is a fire in your home, where to meet if a disaster happens while your kids are at school and you are at work, and where to meet if you are separated.

 

Helpful apps

If you have cell access, there are 2 helpful apps to download.

FEMA: weather alerts, safety tips and shelter information

American Red Cross: a variety of apps including personal and pet first aid, blood, and hero care

 

You and your family will have peace of mind knowing you have started preparing.

Being Organized and Prepared For A Family Emergency

organized and prepared for a family emergency

 

Family emergencies strike unfortunately routinely, from a broken arm to a heart attack. Family health crises are among the most stressful for all of us.   The best way to face an emergency is by being organized and prepared.  Your lists will be what you rely on for information. These preparations can help you create the best plan prior to when an emergency happens.

 

Your Medical Health List

Each doctor you meet requests a list of health challenges, presciptions and supplments.  Make this list easy to access by keeping it digitally in your Notes app, Evernote, or other smart phone app. The list can be shared with a family member in case of emergency.  For health challenges, list the year and what happened (surgery, treatment).  For presciptions and supplements, list the item, what that is treating, and the dosage. If you have a paper list, you can take a photo to keep in your phone as well.

 

Your Medical Plan and Doctor List

With frequent changes to medical plans and doctors, keep a list of your specialists, their phone numbers and their specialty in your smart phone contacts.  Track your annual visits by making appointments that coincide with a birthday, a season (fall, winter, spring summer) or another significant milestone to remind you.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in keeping on track with annual visits to medical and dental professionals.   Your own health care is as important as those in your family.

 

Ongoing health concerns

  • Organizing your medical records is an important step for chronic illness. Keep a notebook to bring to your doctor’s office to keep current discussions and treatments.  You will want to refer to this regularly with notes and updates.  Organize your medical history in a file folder, by doctor or illness.

 

  • Organizing your medications is one part of your ongoing health concerns. Fill day of the week, time of day pill organizers and set alarms to remind you to take medication. Place pills at the point of where they are taken, such as by your bed in the evening or in the kitchen for morning.

 

  • When it comes to the many facets of an ongoing illness, share responsibility with family members.  When my mom faced her illness, my responsibility was health care and my sister took on financial responsibilities. Confer weekly on these responsibilities so everyone is up to date.  You can also create a google sheet to share information with family. Coordination is key to family communication.

 

Support for you and your family

Be ready for ongoing support for yourself and your self care. Friends and family will ask how they can help and be sure to give everyone a small responsibility. It can include setting up a Care Calendar for meals and transportation. Having someone attend the appointments can be helpful in capturing notes and keeping strong during the treatments. That support can be as small as dropping off a gallon of milk to being a listener when you are sad, anxious and afraid.

 

Take good care of yourself with good sleep and good nutrition. Get in bed on time and eat regular, balanced meals.  It’s easy to get off track with both of these during a crisis.

 

Family emergencies are part of life transitions. We age and life happens. Our family ages and abilities diminish.  Be organized and prepared to meet these transitions with positive actions.

Emergency Preparedness: Lessons Learned

emergency preparedness lessons learned

 

A little under 2 years ago, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast.  Our community Kingwood, Texas suffered great losses. From loss comes lessons! It’s where we learn that we can help others too.  Here are several lessons learned on emergency preparedness that help you.

 

Protecting your home and finances

Most of our community suffered catastrophic losses. Flood insurance can help the financial loss.  Flood insurance is offered through a national program. It’s affordable compared to the losses you might incur in a flood.  Having this insurance helped many with replacement and rebuilding.  Check with your insurance agent to learn about coverage. Flood insurance must be in place for 30 days before using the coverage.

 

Now is the time to create your home inventory.  Your inventory can be a digital version. A video of your home is the least you can do on your smart phone.  Walk around your home identifying the items and where and when you purchased, and other significant information. HomeZada offers a digital inventory version you can complete in segments to protect your belongings in case of loss. Having this inventory saves you time and also helps you in case of loss.

 

Protecting your pets and family

There’s all types of emotional responses to catastrophe.  Many families experienced post traumatic stress after this flood.   Keep this in mind, all the while when your family appears unaffected.  Seeking support through community groups can help.  Many families were sharing their losses and thoughts through religous related affiliations.  A community event called Rainaxiety helped those deeply affected.  Seek out support as you find yourself struggling.

 

Preparing documentation for emergencies is the best step.  There are documents to prepare and keep ready for when you leave.  These documents can be gathered in a water proof safe, kept in a closet at home.  It’s easiest to organize these with labelled ziplocks.  If you have not been able to locate these, check online on ways to replace these documents now. Vital records will be needed for each of your family in case of an emergency.

 

Every day medical emergencies happen. Bike accidents, car accidents, and falling off a ladder are all things to be prepared for as much as major catastrophes.  Be sure you have your insurance in your car and in your wallet for these situations.

 

It’s the emergence of hope and community that are at work in an emergency. Those in our community rallied to help each other.   Be open to accepting help and giving help in these emergency situation. We are here to help each other.  That is the greatest blessing I learned during these difficult times.