Midway through September (which, if you recall, was National Preparedness Month) we included a link on this blog to the Be Red Cross Ready website and reviewed the three relatively simple but extremely important steps everyone should take to be prepared for an emergency.
The three steps – Get a Kit, Make a Plan, and Be Informed – are easy enough…if you commit to them. So I did. Publically. Because I knew that if I didn’t tell all of you that I would “Get a Kit” in September, “Make a Plan” in October, and “Be Informed” in November and December, I’d find a reason not to follow through.
We assembled our kit in September, but to be honest, I was dragging my feet when it came to making a plan. Until Hurricane Sandy pummeled the East Coast, that is. Seeing the photos of and reading the stories about what a difference preparedness made for those in the path of the hurricane was the final push I needed; two days after Sandy made landfall I logged on to the Be Red Cross Ready website and made a plan for my family.
As was the case with building a preparedness kit, the Be Red Cross Ready website walked me through the process of creating a preparedness plan. Here are a few of the highlights, some of which I’d never have thought on my own to include/take care:
- Meet with family and/or household members to discuss how you will prepare for and respond to the emergencies most likely to occur where you live, learn, work, and play.
- Learn how and where to turn off utilities like natural gas, water, and electricity.
- Use the website to customize your plan with the names of and phone numbers and email addresses for your family and/or household members.
- Add to your plan information about pets, schools, and healthcare providers.
- Choose an emergency contact person – who lives far enough away that they would not be affected by the same disaster affecting your family – for everyone to call or text in an emergency.
- Establish two meeting places: one right outside your home, and one outside your neighborhood or town in case you are asked to evacuate and cannot return home.
- And finally, use the system to email your customized preparedness plan to yourself and your family members.
After a disaster has come and gone, no one ever says, “I wish I’d been LESS prepared”. Take steps now to be MORE prepared: Get a Kit, Make a Plan, and Be Informed.