Sunday, July 08, 2012

Being Prepared for an Emergency

Tropical depression Debby packed a wallop here in Florida a couple of weeks ago, the Dereches got the mid-Atlantic pretty bad and Colorado and Utah have been slammed by wildfires pretty bad. It seems like an El Nino year, right?

It's been bad enough that I have contemplated getting a generator, something we don't have. It'd run our fridges and the GMG grill, and that would be enough for us. However, some friends were in a position that they may have been evacuated from their homes and had to figure out what they needed in an emergency.

Thankfully, the wind shifted, some long-overdue rain appeared and they're out of danger. Still, the thoughts of what we need in an emergency shouldn't wait until the last minute. What are the things you'd need, if you only had a half hour to get them?

First off, you'll want important papers: birth certificates, bank account info and insurance information, and pet vet/vaccination records. We have a fire-proof safe we bought a long time ago to lock games away from GameTeen at bedtime, all the needed papers will go in there, ready to go if we have to leave in a hurry.

The CPU of any desktop computers and laptops should go. Also, you may want to use cloud storage for photographs or important documents you don't have onsite with you. One person said to the friend that she goes through her house and photographs every room once a year. It may never be needed, but it's good to have that reference for insurance purposes if the worst should happen.

Do you have pictures, blankets, or cherished items from loved ones that you'd be upset not to have? Make a checklist now, kind of like a packing list and it'll make collecting them quicker if you're in a hurry.

If you're evacuated from your house, try to gather things to occupy you that don't require electricity-books and board games. If you've got little ones, their favorite pillow, stuffed animal and toy can help bring some comfort.

Also important, getting some cash out of an ATM and filling your gas tank should be on the to-do list when you have a longer lead time to prepare, like for a hurricane.

If your cell phone doesn't have the important phone numbers in your contact list, take the time now to put them in it. Since we moved to Florida, the Insurance agent has been in mine. I only talk to him once or twice a year, but he's two clicks away.

Your pets need to be prepared long before you deal with any emergencies. If your cat or small dog is only used to seeing the carrier when they go to the vet, change that. Leave the carrier out, make it a comfy place for them and encourage them to get into it on their own. You may find it easier to place your animal in the carrier when you get the call to evacuate before you run around the house getting everything on your list. This way, you're not scrambling to find them and wasting valuable time.

If your dog only wears a collar or harness when leaving the house, get them in the habit of wearing it longer now, so that when you need to be ready at a moment's notice to evacuate, they're not a hyper mess because you put it on already, which means they get to go OUT right this second.

You may laugh at this, but our luggage always has a corkscrew/bottle opener in it, because we had three vacations where we forgot this important item and bought a new one. As a result, I've left them in the bags (which would all be checked when we fly, anyway). That said, having one of those *might* be good and a can opener.

We go through AA and AAA batteries here like water, so I make it a point to pick those up fairly often, but next time? I'm getting a couple of packages of D batteries for the flashlights. We had to FedEx batteries up to Giggles last year when Long Island was bracing for a hurricane, because they were gone, and I'd rather not have that happen again. Even dollar store batteries will power a flashlight for a night.

I know this jumps all over the place, but these are the things that we never think about until we're running on adrenaline. Why not get it together now?

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