There’s a lot of people saying after this ice storm, “I was much more ready for this one than the last.” It’s reassuring to hear that. But are you ready for an emergency?
FEMA has a rather extensive checklist for emergency preparedness. You can find it here: http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/
Here are some things to think about:
- Do you have an escape route AND a meeting place? What if you’re not home; what are your plans then?
- Do you have your family members’ phone numbers in a place other than your cell phone? If the battery dies or something happens to the phone, you may not have those numbers.
- Do you know how to turn off the utilities (water, electricity, etc.)?
- Do you know exactly where to find your vital records (Social Security card, birth certificate, marriage license, etc.)? Think about making copies of them and keeping them somewhere other than your home.
- What would you do with your pet in an emergency?
The other thing FEMA suggests is putting together a “grab-and-go” bag. That way if emergency strikes, whether it’s another ice storm, fire, hurricane or earthquake, you have what’s essential. Here’s some of what the agency suggests you have. For a full list, check out the website.
- Food and water — but be careful to watch “use by” dates. Perhaps when you’re changing the clocks back or on your birthday, you also make a habit of changing out the food. And if the food is in cans, be sure you have a can opener.
- First aid kit
- Battery-operated radio — LL Bean has a good combination flashlight/radio that operates on battery, hand crank or solar: http://tinyurl.com/6csezh
- Photocopies of credit and identification cards
- Special items — contact lens solution, hearing aid batteries, etc.
- Items of infants — formula, diapers, wipes, etc.
- Items for pets — food, medicine, etc.
You may never have to use a single item in this bag, but at least you know it’s there if you need it.