Growing up at the beach in Florida, “hurricane” and “evacuation” were part of our vocabulary every summer and fall. While I don’t remember having an emergency plan back then, I feel sure we discussed what to pack if we ever had to evacuate. In the almost twenty years I’ve lived in the DC area, we’ve had our share of weather events. And we’ve lost power for a few days at a time due to tropical storms and blizzards.
I also worked on Capitol Hill during 9/11 and the scary days that followed of anthrax mailings to nearby offices and false alarms about incoming aircraft. I’ve made it through each event, weather and otherwise, unscathed, if shaken.
Millions of people were recently impacted by Hurricane Dorian. Whether their homes flooded, trees fell, or they just lost power, hurricanes and other catastrophic events can be devastating. September is National Emergency Preparedness Month, so this seemed like as good a time as any to think about preparing for life’s tough blows.
Why You Need An Emergency Plan
Have you ever asked yourself what you’d do if you knew a hurricane was going to hit? Would you know what to pack or where your important documents were? Would you know where to go or how to find the evacuation routes near you? What if your power was out for several days and your neighborhood exits were blocked by fallen trees or snow – do you have supplies on hand to wait it out?
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If you’ve answered no to any one of these questions, that’s why you need an emergency plan.
I wouldn’t consider myself a “prepper,” but over the years, I’ve taken a few steps to prepare myself for an emergency – but in a pretty half-assed way if I’m being honest. I started a pouch of “go cash” – small bills in case there was a need to evacuate and I needed cash to get out of town. (let’s be clear – we aren’t talking about wads of cash – just enough for an emergency)
When my husband Craig found the pouch after we met, he chuckled pretty hard. Did I mention he’s a military guy who actually understands emergency planning? But he sweetly indulged me by putting the pouch in our new safe. Although he calls it my “prepper pouch” and occasionally raids it to pay allowances.
And for Christmas one year I asked for, and received, a backpack of emergency supplies that I could keep on hand. (you can get a basic backpack filled with supplies on Amazon for less than $40) I also received a portable water purifier, foil blankets, and a first aid kit. I put the backpack in a closet and the water purifier and blankets ended up in another closet. And frankly I’m not sure I remember which closet!
Craig and I have talked a good game about what we would do in an emergency, but we hadn’t yet pulled together a real plan.
So – we finally did it. And I have documented all that we did so that you don’t have to do the research or make all the lists. This is the first of several posts that will give you a complete blueprint for being prepared. And I’m giving you all the (free!) resources along the way so you can make sure you don’t forget a thing.
Let’s hit the basics today:
To Build Your Emergency Plan, You Need To Do 4 Things:
- Get Your Financial House In Order: Do you have enough savings if something were to happen? What about insurance? Do you even know everything that you’d need to replace? I’ll help you answer those questions and get all of that together.
- Put Together Your “Grab And Go” Book: Do you have all of your important contacts in one place? How about all your account numbers or policies? I’ve designed a great template you can use to assemble your own “Grab And Go” book that will have all the resources you need in one place.
- Develop Your Emergency Plan For Both Evacuating And For Sheltering In Place: Do you know what steps you’d take if you had to evacuate? Or the route? How about if you were to shelter in place? I will help you make and record your plan.
- Make Sure The Whole Family Understands The Plan And Practices It: Have you talked to your kids about what would happen in an emergency? I’ll give you a guide to practicing your plan and making family conversations as easy as possible.
I’m going to walk you through each step in the following posts. And when we’re done, you’ll have all the tools you need to make sure you’re prepared in case of a catastrophic event. All of the tools will be available FOR FREE in my resource library. If you haven’t signed up to get the password yet, you can do so here.
Remember, no matter where you live, Mother Nature has a way of reminding all of us who’s in charge.
I hope this series will helpful to you. It sure was helpful for me to get all of this information together for my household! But I’d love your feedback. Is there anything else that would be useful as you’re thinking about how to prepare for an emergency? Let me know!