Planning for the unthinkable is kind of…unthinkable. How can you plan for the total unknown? If an emergency happened, would you know what to do? Would you know where to begin? Would you lose precious management minutes in a panic? How about, instead of living in denial and anxiety, you take steps to be prepared for an emergency.
Emergency preparedness means different things to different people. For some it’s a stash of easily accessible supplies, for others it’s a car with certain items packed in it at all times and for others, it’s a feeling of being overwhelmed by the unknown and in denial about the possibilities. No matter what it is for you, being prepared, in at least a small way, can help ease some anxiety over the unknown and give you a focus and direction in the first moments of a crisis.
Yes, it could happen to you
Emergencies happen. They happen to everyone, everywhere, and it doesn’t matter if your family has already been through their share of drama. Whether it’s an unexpected medical emergency, a freak accident or a natural disaster, the first step to being prepared is knowing that it can happen to you — today, tomorrow, next week or next year. Yes, it can. This simple emotional preparation is a big step in being ready and more able to handle the unknown.
Scenarios and role playing
While it’s fairly reasonable to say no one can ever be totally ready for an emergency, there are things you can do to help yourself and your family better manage the unexpected should it happen. Just like elementary schools run through safety plans with young students, including helping them understand risk and safety and planning things like family meet up points, you can run through similar scenarios, even in your own head. For example:
- If a fire should happen at your house, do you have a family meet up spot? Can your family get out of the house safely from upper floors even if an interior stairwell is blocked?
- If tornadoes happen in your area (and even if you think they don’t), what is your family plan when the warnings go off? Do have an appropriate location in your house to wait out the dangerous weather cell? What supplies do you have there?
- If a hurricane and flooding hit your town, what are the local evacuation routes? If you can stay in your home for the aftermath, what would you do without power for an extended period?
- If there was an accident and you needed to be at a hospital with your husband for an extended period of time, who would you call to help with your kids and how fast could that person get there?
Basic supplies, basic plans
Once you’ve run through a few scenarios, make some lists about what you and your family might need to get through such emergencies. From batteries to bottled water to making sure your have lists of phone numbers of insurance agencies and the like, basic supplies and information can take the edge off a crisis to you can deal with the crisis itself, not spin wheels trying to remember that phone number or griping that you forgot this or that.
If you feel you have supplies to acquire, you don’t necessarily need to do it all at once, though having something of a schedule to acquire them is a good idea. While emergency egress ladders require a special purchase, making sure batteries and water and such are stocked can be a regular check before each grocery shopping trip. And because they are items your family likely uses anyway, be sure to restock if they are used in the course of everyday life.
As difficult as it is to plan, some basic emergency preparedness — emotional as well as tangible — can help put you and your family in good stead to weather a storm, both literally and figuratively. Once you’ve established some basics, you can relax a bit until that inevitable emergency occurs, implement those basics as needed — then feel free to panic at will.