What Plans Are You Making?
Like everyone, I’ve watched the news. Fires in several states, Hurricane Harvey, tornadoes, and more. It seems unreal. I purposely don’t watch a lot of it because I find that I become numb to the tragedies. I don’t want to become numb. I don’t want to be depressed. I don’t want to sit in despair.
What can I do? I’m just one person. I don’t have lots of money to give. I live a bit of a minimalist life, so I don’t even have a lot of ‘things’ to offer. I do meditate. I do share what I can. I try to help in my own neighborhood. Of course I can volunteer time and energy as well.
But I wonder why we keep believing that “it can’t happen to me?”
Every warning of a storm – snow or rain – we see the grocery stores full of people buying last minute items. But are that many people always a few days away from no milk or bread or toilet paper. If so, we’re not learning anything. That frightens me.
So what CAN I do?
I’ve been thinking on that as I spent a quiet Labor Day weekend in a most relaxing scenario where I had time to reflect. Here are some of my thoughts in creating my
- First and foremost: I am going to create a backpack of essentials NOW – personal items, change of clothes, some items to keep me warm and dry, etc – that I would grab quickly if someone knocked on my door and said I had 90 seconds to get out! This bag would also include a very short Reminder List to remind me to grab my phone charger. Also a few batteries of various sizes. They may come in handy.
- I am in the process of capturing all of my important papers digitally – including passwords, account numbers, etc. There are dozens of ways to do that. In the cloud via your phone, thru sites like DropBox, in apps like Evernote. But get those copies NOW! It’s too late when they knock on your door. Every city, county, and state has emergency preparedness sites to help you with these needs. Check them out and get busy NOW.
- MEDICINES and MEDICAL INFO – this should be a priority. It can be part of those important digital papers. Copies of prescriptions, any records that you may need. Yes – just photograph your prescription bottle and add to the digital records. Of course, you want to have these items in a place where you can grab them in that 90 seconds and put them in your backpack. (That Reminder List will be in your backpack.) Throw in some aspirin, generic allergy meds, etc that you may need and not find easily for awhile.
- Sanitary Items that you’ll need and probably not think of in that 90 seconds: women’s needs, items for seniors or babies, etc. You won’t be finding these anywhere during a disaster.
- A small first-aid kit that includes scissors, adhesive tape, gauze.
- Special formula, etc if needed. Put this on the Reminder List in your backpack. Remember, you have 90 seconds. No time to think – only ACT!
- Water. This is a difficult one. You may only be able to carry a bottle or two in each of the backpacks. But you can sip it cautiously until you know you have help to get more. You might add this to your Reminder List.
- Pet Needs: leashes, some food if possible, any papers should be digitized. Are they chipped so that you can be connected with them should you be separated? Anything you might need to grab on your way out the door should be on the Reminder List.
- Items that will make you a hero: can opener (the kind that does NOT require electricity), hand-cranked radio, lantern/flashlight, a few of those foil blankets or other emergency blankets. Here’s an interesting article that may help you make decisions.
- If you create a backpack for each member of the family, you may want to tuck in a book, coloring items, comic, puzzle, small travel games, etc. None that will require batteries!!! That way, everyone will have something to do while you wait out the opportunity to return home (hopefully)!
- Digitize your family photos. You can’t grab all that’s important in 90 seconds. But there’s no reason that we need to lose everything. Make copies – get them on a flash drive – add those to your backpack. Update once a year at least.
- Last, but not least, I’d put all of this inside a plastic bag that would be sure to keep it all dry. Close it well. Maybe tuck in another bag or two for garbage.
Be sure to have ID on each person – physically on that person. If you get separated, you’ll be able to locate each other. Someone will find you. Include a relative or two out of your area. That way, children will be able to be connected to family should they get separated from you.
Of course, the list could go on and on. But you really want ‘survival’ as you grab the backpack and get out in 90 seconds or less. You won’t have everything. But you’ll have more than most. Even better, pack one for each member of the family. Have it ready. Teach everyone to grab the backpack in the back of the closet. Teens and adults could have the Reminder List in their packs to grab other essentials on the way out the door.
Are you making plans? Or will you worry about it when it happens… which, as we’ve watched, is usually too late.
No, I agree that this isn’t an answer to everything. There are as many ways to prepare as there are people with opinions. But do SOMETHING! The feeling that you have a bit of control over your personal situation in the midst of a larger catastrophe could mean survival for your family. It could also allow you to be able to help others.
Please be pro-active. Create your Survival Backpack now. It may save your life and your family when you need it most!