September is National Preparedness Month
Are You Ready?
September is National Preparedness Month!
Prepare for what you ask? The answer is disaster. Today watching the news, I saw reports on massive wildfires, floods, tropical storms, hurricanes and landslides. Watching people standing outside the ruins of their lives drives home the need to plan and be prepared.
Disaster comes in other forms as well. Illness and accidents happen every day too. How well are your prepared with all the documentation you would need these situations?
Whether natural disaster, or personal disaster, you need 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 you don't know how to set this up, check the online manual for your phone or go to YouTube to search for the name of your device and In Case of Emergency (ICE). Here is the link for the steps for Galaxy s9 and here are the instructions for the iPhone. 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, and chargers for your cell phone to name a few, 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, DD214’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. These vital documents are best kept in a location where they can be quickly accessed in an emergency. You may only have minutes to gather the important documents in an actual emergency.
- Decide in advance how and where you will meet in an emergency, and what your plan B is if that is not possible. This is where having emergency contacts outside the area can be crucial. If everyone understands that the out of area emergency contact is Aunt Sally, she will be the conduit to helping you all reconnect.
- Facebook allows you to mark yourself as safe or ask if one of your contacts is safe. For more information on how this works go to this article on Facebook.
Being prepared is essential, September is a great time to make sure that your family is prepared!
If you need help with your system let’s talk!