National Preparedness Month is still about six weeks away. But is it ever too early to think about this important topic?
Obviously we don’t think so at 4Patriots. We focus on preparedness 365 days of the year around here.
Now, as you know, we’ve given you many different tips and strategies through the years regarding how to prepare for an uncertain future. And in many cases, we have also provided products that help people do that.
But every once in awhile we like to share emergency preparedness tips that are somewhat untraditional. Here are five of them for your consideration. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to assume you already have bug-out bags for each family member packed and ready to go, as well as a folder filled with important documents you can grab in a hurry.
- Decide on meeting places. Many families have a meeting place in case of a crisis that every family member knows about. It could be a church or a school or a library or whatever. But in each case, every family member knows that’s where they should head if a disaster hits that makes it difficult to go home. But what if it’s impossible to get to that church, school or library, and cellphones aren’t working? Or what if that particular building has been damaged by the cause of the emergency? It’s best to have at least three designated meeting places, listed in order. At least one of them should be an indoor meeting place. Another should be in your general neighborhood and the third should be more regional.
- Prepare individual ID cards. Every family member should always have a personal identification card on his or her person. By that I don’t mean a driver’s license. These ID cards should have pertinent information that can be used to help family members if they are incapacitated. The main focus here should be on one’s health condition. Cards should include names, sex, blood type, prescriptions and allergies, especially to medicines. They should also contain contact information for several family members or close friends. In fact, each family member should have several of these cards made up, keeping one in a bug-out bag and another in a vehicle. The information on these cards could help first responders save your life.
- Set up WEAs on your cellphone. Even if you pay a lot of attention to the news, media outlets and local emergency agencies are probably going to hear about breaking news including emergencies before you do. So, why not have them tell you about them as soon as they occur? Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are texts from local authorities that you can receive on your mobile devices, including your cellphone, free of charge. Many cellphones are already set up to receive these alerts, but check your settings to make sure they will pop up for you to see in a timely fashion. Now, sometimes false alerts occur, so don’t freak out over each one. But I’d rather have the occasional false alert than not receive a real one in time to reach a safe place.
- Establish a family emergency plan. If there are five people living in your home, and everyone is in a different place when a crisis occurs, and none of your cellphones work, what will happen? You’ll probably all wonder what the others are doing. But if you establish an emergency plan, everyone will know exactly where the others are going to go. Part of this plan involves the meeting places discussed earlier, but there’s more to it than that. A family emergency plan will also include contact information including addresses for the schools, workplaces and other locations where family members are most likely to be. It will also include medical contacts and insurance information. Each person should have a copy of this plan with them at all times.
- Determine your bug-out attire. This might seem like the least crucial component of an emergency preparedness plan – and after all, we are listing it last – but it may be more important than you think. If you knew in advance that you were going to have to leave your house in a hurry and possibly spend a good portion of the next several days moving about on foot as you escape whatever disaster has befallen your neighborhood or town, what would be your first choice of attire? Whatever your answer is, that is the set of clothing, footwear and headwear you should have stationed in a specific area of your home. This set of clothing might change depending on the season of the year, but that’s OK. As long as it’s quickly accessible, that’s the key.