Over the last week we have all been scrolling through funny meme’s in social media regarding the Corona Virus. Most are about people buying up all the toilet paper they can find. I have also read about vendors of all kinds price gouging everyone…aka $10 for one roll of toilet paper.
You may make fun of those people stock piling supplies, and some of it may be a little excessive, but they are leaping into action to become prepared just as the crisis is ramping up. Just in case we all have to hunker down in our houses for longer than a month. Which now has caused a shortage of supplies around the state. That is not an ideal situation, but it is what it is.
What can you do now?
Start gathering supplies! What supplies should you have on hand?
There are countless lists out there telling you what to have in your emergency kits at home, in your car and at your work place. Three lists that I recommend are found at the following links:
In addition to the basic supplies, you may find that you need to customize these lists. To add or omit supplies based on your needs.
For me, I like Chapstick, and I always make sure to have some in each of my preparedness kits, my purse, next to my bed, by my couch, at my desk, in my car…you get the idea. It’s not something that will necessarily save my life, but it will make me feel better not having chapped lips.
How do you know if you have all the supplies? Practice, practice, practice!
When teaching classes on planning and preparedness I always ask participants the following:
- Can you, your pets and those who live in your house survive in your home for 14 days without utilities (i.e. water, sewer, power…internet)?
- Can you survive for 3 days in your car in the middle of nowhere without any fuel in your tank?
- Can you survive for 5 days in your workplace, without utilities?
How do you practice it?
Don’t use electricity or water for a weekend, the kids may not like not having internet or phones, but who doesn’t like a living room fort or a backyard camp out? Then you can see where you need to spend the money on supplies.
Spend the night in your office, make note of supplies that you still need to add to your supplies. Have a bucket under your desk with those supplies. Have some of those same supplies in the trunk of your car.
If you are on a budget, slowly purchase items to add to your emergency supplies. Even if it takes a year, you will be further ahead of most Americans in being prepared.
Plus, you may have most of the supplies you need already in your home. Have a few extra cans of food in the cupboard (don’t forget a can opener) or buy a case of water to have on hand. If you want a more inexpensive way to have water on hand, fill up your gym water bottles with water prior to an emergency and keep them in the fridge…just in case.
During or after getting your supplies together the next step is something that will need to be completed before the next emergency occurs…a plan!
For your family’s emergency plan you don’t necessarily need a 600 page emergency operations plan detailing every scenario imaginable, unless you want to!
But if you are a school, nursing home, church, municipality or business then you probably will need a much larger plan, (contact us if you need assistance with this).
A great resource to assist individuals with your family emergency plan is at ready.gov. (https://www.ready.gov/plan)
The site has a check list to follow, step by step, in order to create your emergency plan. It lists questions to be answered by you…those answers is what makes up your plan.
One of the first steps is to discuss these four questions with your family:
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route?
- What is my family/household communication plan?
After those questions are answered, consider any special needs you have in your household. Is there special medication needed, dietary restrictions, pets, etc? Ensure you address each of these needs in your plan.
Download and fill out a family emergency communication plan.
This plan also holds information you will need to assist you in preparing an emergency plan.
Remember that plans are fluid…not static. I always hate to see good plans sit on a shelf and never opened, never utilized or updated. So if you go through all the hard work of putting your plan together, please regularly update it when needed.
After you get your plan written you will need to exercise your plan…put it into practice.
Have you ever watched schools during their fire drills, or firefighters conducting fire training? They are done in a systematic, well organized manner. Why? because of planning, adjusting the plan when needed then conducting multiple executions of the same thing over and over…and over again.
We all need to practice this type of training prior to any huge disaster, emergency or pandemic…before things happen. This way we have all we need on hand at our houses, in our cars and at our work place. We can not count on being able to make those last minute, late night mad dashes to buy up all the toilet paper in seven different stores to feel prepared.
Plus, you will be able to see if your plan works in real life. I have written many emergency plans and my greatest joy is seeing the plan in action. It makes all that hard work worth it.
I hope that this post has given you some insights into how to begin getting prepared prior to an emergency, and incident or even a pandemic flu. Or at least gets you thinking about how to prepare yourself, your family and pets in the future…without having to stockpile toilet paper!
At Strategic Emergency Education we create customized emergency operations plans to assist our clients fulfill their emergency preparedness needs. If you would like to setup a complimentary meeting to discuss plans, training or other services we can offer, please email your request to Inquiry@StrategicEmergencyEducation.com.