September is National Preparedness Month and the time each year Coast Guard men and women encourage the boating public and coastal communities to take steps to be prepared for natural and man-made disasters. But, are our own families always ready at home? Over the course of the month, Coast Guard All Hands will share tips for Coast Guard personnel to ensure our families and property are safe and sound so we can focus on the mission.
Written by Shannon Maxwell.
“Drinking from the fire hose” is a colloquialism often used to describe being overwhelmed to the point of drowning. There are many times in our lives that we feel utterly overwhelmed. For example, perhaps we’ve taken a new job and feel as if we might drown in all the new information being thrown at us at a rapid rate. For many, preparing for possible emergencies: being informed, making a plan, building a kit, things we all know we should do, can seem an overwhelming task.
Let’s face it; you can’t drink water from a fire hose, not even one that’s Coast Guard rated.
September is National Preparedness Month, so take some time and don’t try to do it all at once. You don’t have to cover every scenario. Prepare for those hazards that are most likely to occur in your area. Perhaps you live in a hurricane prone area. Prepare for that. Learn the evacuation routes in your area one day, and the next make a communication plan, identifing who would be your family’s main point of contact in an emergency. The following week, sit down with your family for a short time each day and begin to write down your plan: what you will do, where you will meet if separated, and what you will take. The next week give your plan a test run. See what worked, and what didn’t. By virtue of doing so, you will actually be prepared for other possible threats.
Does building a kit seem an immense task all by itself?
Sure it can, so break it down over time. Pull the recommended list of items for a kit off the Ready Coast Guard website.
On day one, buy a tub or a duffle bag that is specifically for your kit. On day two, decide where you will keep the kit so that everyone can reach it and knows where it is. Day three, send the kids on a scavenger hunt to locate items you already have in your house and add them to the kit. After that, add a few items to your grocery list every time you shop, building until you have everything you and your family need to survive for a minimum of three days.
While you can’t anticipate every need you might have during an emergency, you can take comfort that the steps you have taken will help you get back on your feet more quickly. Isn’t it time you got started?