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How to Be Smart (About Emergency Preparedness)

Published on Friday, January 27, 2017

Courtesy of the Emergency Management Committee

Emergencies are everywhere: from floods to flu, tornadoes to terrorists…

How do you prepare for all of it?

Trying to prepare for every possibility can seem impossible. But you can be smart about preparing for the emergencies and situations you are most likely to experience. Start by looking at where you live, the people in your life, and the places you go on a day-to-day basis. Ask yourself questions, then figure out what steps you can take.

For example:

  • Are you living in tornado alley? Pick a safe place in your home to take shelter.
  • Do you work in a large office building? Know how to evacuate during a fire.
  • Do you travel often? Make a kit with prescription and over-the-counter medicines, your health insurance cards, and copies of your prescriptions.
  • Do you have children? Make a plan with them about where to meet up if you are separated.
  • Do you have a loved one with diabetes? Have a plan if they run out of insulin or if they have low blood sugar.
  • Do you have pets? Make sure your emergency plan includes them, too.

Emergencies come in all different shapes and sizes. We often hear about preparedness in the context of natural disasters and infectious disease outbreaks, but preparedness is also about getting your flu shot every year and wearing your seatbelt when you drive. Preparedness is knowing what to do if your child starts choking or how to help if your coworker has a seizure. Preparedness also means reaching out to those around you.

Do you know someone with a disability who may need extra help when evacuating during an emergency? Are there elderly people living in your neighborhood who are particularly vulnerable to extreme heat?

Of course, something unusual can always happen. (After all, who would have anticipated Snowpocalypse 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia?) But in preparing for the most likely situations, you may find yourself better prepared for the unexpected.

Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.