September is National Preparedness Month!
Prepare for what you ask? The answer is disaster.
Whether natural disaster, or personal disaster, you need to make a plan for you, your family and your company.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- How will you know that disaster has occurred or is imminent? I was recently in Starbucks and suddenly everyone’s smart phones went crazy. We were in a severe weather situation, and tornado warnings were being sent to our County. By setting up the alerts with the Massachusetts Office of Emergency Management – MEMA we all received the warning to our cell phones. Scary, but reassuring at the same time. The Federal Office of Emergency Management - FEMA maintains a list of the State Offices of Emergency Management, where you can locate resources specific to your state.
- Communication Plan: FEMA also has PDFs you can download one formatted for children and one for parents.
- Text, don’t talk. In an emergency text messages will be more likely to get through.
- Make a list for each family member including: DOB, Physicians, Preferred hospital, Allergies including reactions and if epi pen is used, all current medications, and any limitations, difficulty hearing, reading, vision. Make copies and share with an emergency contact outside your local area. Take a copy with you if you need to evacuate.
- Set up at least one “in case of emergency” sometimes referred to as “ICE”, number on your cell phone, and teach it to your children. If your ICE number is someone local, consider including someone outside of your local area as well, because; in a natural disaster you may be out of contact with a neighbor or friend in your community who may also be affected. Think of situations like flood, hurricane, tornado, forest fire, to name a few.
- Emergency supplies, like food, water, medications, first aid supplies, cash, copies of essential documents pet necessities, pillows, blankets change of clothes, batteries, chargers for your cell phone should be prepared in “go bag” for a more complete list visit the Red Cross or FEMA.
- Back up your data. Computers are an essential part of most families and businesses. Think about your back up strategy. Think; what do I need on paper, what do I need electronically, what do I need to save locally, and what do I need to save in a distant location? Remember that though an external hard drive can save you from disaster if your computer fails, it will do little if your home or office burns down with both devices inside. If you don’t feel comfortable with “Cloud” solutions, then maybe a second hard drive that is periodically updated and stored in a remote location would suit you better. The idea is to protect against losing everything.
- Essential documents: keep copies of your most essential documents like credit cards, licenses, certifications, insurance policies, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, birth certificates, naturalization papers, DD213’s (military discharge documents), Social Security Numbers, passports and any other documents that you would have a difficult time to replace in a secure location as well as ready to take with you in case of emergency. Make sure to let a trusted person know the location where they are stored and who has access.
Being prepared is essential, September is a great time to make sure that your family is prepared!