As a Scout Leader the whole idea of a National Preparedness Month resonates with me. Being prepared can mean the difference between life and death – which may seem so scary that it’s offsetting. But here’s the good news: you don’t have to worry about being perfectly prepared. You just need to start and use the momentum to carry you step-by-step forward.
There are a few easy steps that you can take that will get your preparations started. Notice that I haven’t numbered these steps. Start with any of these steps and don’t worry about what to do first – just start.
- Find a place to take shelter in your home that is away from windows and preferably in the basement.
- Keep your shelter and the path to it clutter-free. When you’re rushing to safety you will not have time to clear or jump clutter-hurdles.
- Keep a flashlight in every room so you don’t have to go somewhere and look for one in the dark. Test the flashlights periodically to make sure they work. Look for a way to remember to test the flashlights such as setting up a reminder in your electronic calendar.
- Have a first aid kit with your prescription medicines handy. A lot of stores have pre-made kits on sale this month. Keep the first aid kit in use and restock it as needed so its contents remain fresh.
- Build a binder with essential information page by page. Start with creating a plan for where to meet family in an emergency and who to contact out of town. Add information about each family member. Then add other important information like your insurance policies. Visit www.ready.gov/make-a-plan for a form you can download. Or consider getting the Securita PortaVault, which provides a system for indentifying, organizing and transporting the information you need during a disaster.
- Keep some bottled water and shelf-stable snacks in your shelter spot. FEMA and the Red Cross suggest setting up three days worth of supplies. But even if you start with one bottle of water, that’s one more than you had a day ago.
- Have a battery-operated weather band radio - preferably one that has an automatic dangerous weather alarm and an electric adapter so you don’t run your batteries down during good weather. By the way, NOAA tests the signal every Wednesday about noon. During one such test, my neighbor heard my radio’s alarm but he didn’t know it was from the radio. Concerned that he was hearing the fire alarm he contacted my husband and then entered the house to investigate. The moral of this story is make friends with your neighbors.
Friendship is a lifeboat during a disaster. Friends help by pitching in what they have for the good of the group. You might have the bandage your neighbor needs and he might have the granola bar you need. Friends provide the camaraderie that is needed to get through a disaster emotionally. Because of friends, the burden of perfect preparation is lifted.
All you have to do is start your preparations, then do one small thing on a regular basis to bring you step-by step in the direction of safety and survival. For more information I encourage you to take a look at the www.ready.gov website. And be safe out there!