No matter where you live or what your circumstance is, you have a need to be prepared for emergencies. Never assume it can’t happen to you, or that it won’t happen here. Citizens in the Southern United States are learning the hard way: it is wise to expect the unexpected and be prepared! Here are some things to consider in your plans.
1. Start with the obvious.
Be aware of the weather. Check on the forecast yourself on a regular basis – do not wait for the weather services to contact you. The earliest mention of potential snow in Atlanta that I could find (in an albeit brief internet search) was in the wee hours of Tuesday morning before the storm hit on Wednesday. I wonder how many people were actually checking the internet for the weather at 3 or 4 in the morning! Still, take it upon yourself to check on tomorrow’s weather today.
2. Watch the forecast.
If you find the forecast is a bad one, arrange your life accordingly. Do not wait for the civic leaders to tell you what to do. Atlanta governor Nathan Deal admits that government agencies – himself included- did not exercise good judgement in this crisis. Decide for yourself if you should go to work. Decide for yourself if you should send your children to school. Decide for yourself what your contingency plan will be should family members become stranded away from each other. Better yet – make plans so they WON’T be stranded away from you.
3. Make good judgement calls.
If you decide it’s safe to go to work/school, make plans in case your judgement is flawed, or in case the situation changes abruptly throughout the day. Pack a bag in case you find yourself spending the night at work. Place blankets, food and maybe a book in your car in case you become stuck in traffic. Be sure the tank is full before the storm hits. Have jumper cables in the trunk. Charge up electronics the night before, and take chargers with you. Send the children extra food and dress them extra warmly in case are stranded at school or on the bus.
4. Consider medical needs.
Prepare for 72 hours at a minimum. A baby was born in a car during the Atlanta storm because her parents were stranded by the ice on the way to the hospital. If you or someone in your household are expecting – even if you have a hospital birth planned – ALWAYS be prepared to deliver at home or in the car should baby become impatient. Also, consider other medical needs. When you realize bad weather is on the way, check medications and other medical considerations. Do you have enough to last until you can get out again?
5. Make plans for at least 72 hours.
Eventually churches, charities and government agencies will begin to provide assistance. But it will take a few days for them to become operational. First they must wait for the storm to pass before they can enter the area. Second, they must set up their operations and assess the needs. Third, they must organize. This all takes time – even if the agency is extremely proficient. In Atlanta, the National Guard was called in – but it still took some time for them to render assistance. Get prepared to take care of yourself, at least for a 3 days.
In any emergency, as in life, the person ultimately responsible for you and your family is, well . . . YOU! You can rely on outside entities if you want to. But it is imperative that you plan to be self-reliant until they can get to you!
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons