“I remembered my mother’s insistence that I always wear clean underwear because I might get knocked down by a car on the way to or from school and I and the family would be disgraced even beyond the grave, presumably, if my underwear was dirty.” ~James Arthur Baldwin
The sound was alarming. Sleep was abruptly ended by the noise blaring from my phone. It was a test for an emergency alert. In the event of a real emergency, they would follow the deafening noise with instructions for us. Today was just a normal day, but the warning made me wonder just what I might do in the event of an emergency. Do we ever think of that possibility? Married to an Eagle Scout who went through his training many years ago, I turned to a more recently awarded Eagle Scout and asked the questions: 1)What did your Emergency Preparedness badge teach you? 2)Do you have a plan for you and your wife in the event of an emergency? James Baldwin’s reminder of wearing clean underwear wasn’t in my friend’s list of emergency kit ingredients, but I’m guessing that most of us know that clean underwear is a must.
Emergencies happen in different places in our lives and require different types of preparation: computers can crash, meaning you should have multiple backups of important photos and documents; cars can fail us on a dark road or a busy interstate, meaning we should have tools on hand to safeguard ourselves until help can arrive; grease on the stove can cause a fire, so having an extinguisher nearby and a little fire prevention education will help protect our home from being destroyed. There are so many places we need to have emergency preparedness. Are you ready?
If you’ve ever lost all of the photos on your phone or on your computer, you are probably very careful about backing up your items, as I am. Once a week, I’ll hear someone say they don’t know what they’d do if they lost their phone because they have all of their prized pictures on there. Really? If they are prized, have someone show you how to transfer them to your computer that you are backing up somewhere. If things on your computer are valuable to you, have multiple backups–and quit saying you aren’t going to pay an outside source to keep a backup of your files if they matter that much to you.
It just makes sense in today’s world to have an emergency kit on hand for the people living in your home. The basics might include:
- Water–a gallon per person
- Food–things that don’t need to be cooked, aren’t perishable, are high in protein
- Flashlight–with extra batteries
- Medications and First Aid Items
- Weather radio and batteries
- Map and compass
- Contact Information
- A PLAN
My Eagle Scout friend said he learned to tie strong knots to throw to someone (here), emergency-level first aid (here), and to stay calm and use a step by step process to deal with an emergency. Experts suggest having a file or notebook with all of your important information in it that you can grab quickly if you have to make an exit from home. When you enter a business (restaurant, grocery, etc), you need to think about making an exit, too–look as you enter for the way you would make an escape in an emergency.
Look around you where you are. If there were an emergency where would you go? How would you contact your children, your parents, your spouse? Just take a few minutes today to think about taking care of the people you care about. Being prepared can be the difference in surviving or dying. Make it easy on yourself and others: have a kit (update it occasionally), have a plan, and go ahead and wear that clean underwear.