New Years Resolution – #Ready2014

Are you #Ready2014? You may be wondering what it means to be #Ready2014, and it is simply about making your New Year’s Resolution one that focuses on your preparedness. This past year we’ve seen numerous severe natural disasters, from Typhoon Haiyan, the numerous tornadoes throughout the Midwest, floods in Colorado, all the way to Hurricane Manuel. In addition, extreme weather ravaged unsuspecting cities and set new records, such as heavy rainfalls and flooding in Europe, and extreme snow throughout the Atlantic regions of North America including a severe ice storm in December. No matter where you are in the world, it is crucial to be prepared. Many people that have gone through a crisis will often be the first to say they never thought they would be put in that situation. We hope you had a great time counting down to the New Year last night, and whether you’re undecided on a resolution or simply can add another one to your list, we wanted to offer you some ideas for how to prepare in 2014!

Just a small glimpse of the flood damage left in Colorado in September of 2013. (Photo by: Joe Amon/The Denver Post)
Just a small glimpse of the flood damage left in Colorado in September of 2013. (Photo by: Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

Make a Plan: You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about “making a plan,” but what does that really mean? How does someone plan for the unknown? It all boils down to making a plan that suits you. Each individual or family will look at things differently and have different needs to consider. This includes taking a look at which natural disasters are common in your geographical area and thinking about what it would be like for your family to go through each of these specific emergencies. This is a great opportunity to sit down with the family and work together on a plan so that everyone is confident in their role should they ever find themselves in an emergency. Sit down with your loved ones and make a chart to determine options for a meeting place and evacuation routes to exit your home. Talk about the how-to’s as well, such as how to get in contact with family members or other contacts. In large-scale disasters, land lines are often the first to go down so preparing family members on how to communicate in a crisis is essential. With ePACT, you can easily store and update important contact details online, and communicate with loved ones in an unexpected situation with multiple modes of communication!

Emergency Kit: We’ve talked a lot about the importance of an emergency kit, and while it is important all year round, using the start of the New Year to update the items in your kit, or create your first one is a great time to kick off the year right! What should your kit have? Your kit or “go-bag” should be equipped with items necessary for survival for up to three days. At the very least it’s important to stock: water, non-perishable food and snacks, a flashlight, lighter, blankets, extra pair of clothes, hygiene products, batteries, and important medications. If you have children, packing comfort items such as family photos and small toys or books can be a great help if ever in an emergency. Keeping copies of important documents such as insurance papers as well as passport information is a good idea as well.

Don’t have the time to build your emergency kit in one go? You can also consider buying one item for your kit every time you’re at the grocery store. Or set a few minutes aside once a week to find existing items in your house that you can include, such as blankets or canned food. With this, you’ll be #Ready2014 in no time!

Community: You’ve already made a plan and helped prepare your family, now set out and help others do the same! Approach your children’s school and PAC group to discuss preparedness and inquire about the school’s safety standards and emergency procedures. It’s an important topic to be informed about as a parent and to share with your kids to ensure they know what to do or where to go in case an emergency occurs while they are at school. You’ll also have the peace of mind knowing how you will be contacted in that situation. Similarly, approach your children’s sports teams or after-school programs, employer, gym, or any other organization who supports you, to obtain the same information. You want to know that wherever your family members are, they have the necessary tools and support to deal with any emergency, big or small. Should an organization not have a plan in place, help them establish one!

Finally, look into taking classes with some friends to help spread the word on preparedness! Many communities offer CPR and First-Aid classes, and there are many other types of classes to look into that may grab your attention such as emergency management, social media in emergencies, or nutrition and food safety in natural disasters!

With these three ideas, you’re well on your way to taking your first steps in preparedness! Make this year the year you make preparedness a priority, and not something that is left on the back-burner. Being prepared doesn’t have to take a lengthy amount of time or excessive amounts of money, and may wind up being the best investment you make to support yourself and your family in the long run. We learned a lot of lessons in 2013, so be #Ready2014! Happy New Year!

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