Some Safety Checklists are as big as Justin Beiber.* For instance: everyone knows there are 4 keys to Airplane Safety. Say them with me: exits, seat-belts, flotation devices, oxygen masks.
How is it you know this? You don’t even LISTEN to the lady when she does her spiel. You haven’t listened in years. The only fleeting brain activity you actually dedicate to the Safety Talk is a thought like, “Any person alive post-1975 knows WTF a seatbelt is, genius. How the #&*$ do you think I got to their airport?” Then you phase out in service of pretending to turn off your phone and iPad but are really only switching them to airplane mode and stashing them out of sight.
But still, you know it. I suspect children born these days actually assimilate this information in the womb. YouTube is probably full of videos of toddlers reciting it verbatim and admonishing Mommy to put her mask on first.
Disaster Prep doesn’t seem to have this popularity. One problem is that, while there is lots of good advice out there, there isn’t one coherent message. Some seem dispiritedly vague. Others, maddeningly specific enough that it’s easy to talk yourself out of paying attention because it does not (thankfully) apply!
So, you do nothing. Or very little. Oh, you kept current on #Isaac, and honestly, if you actually lived in a town with a levee, or in Tornado Alley, you’d pay more attention. But, seriously…
How about if I make it easy for you? How about a succinct Disaster Preparedness Checklist — applicable for all-hazards — that falls somewhere between (a) Y2k stockpiling weirdo and (b) annoyingly clueless? Sound good?
Cool. Easy. Here goes:
1. Have an exit plan.
These are evacuation routes that get you & your loved ones FROM where you all typically are TO a safe meeting place. Or two. We all need options. If you are in different places day vs night (as most are), then you need multiple routes, unless you feel confident you can schedule disasters for when you’re in the right place. Please look around, because your nearest exit might be behind you.
2. Have a stay-put strategy.
This is your plan for y’all hanging tight right where you are, and having everything you need to get through 72+ hours without assistance. Hear that? THREE DAYS WITHOUT ASSISTANCE. Eating, drinking, mending owies, keeping warm and news-gathering, for everyone in your family, for at least 3 days (food and water for up to two weeks isn’t crazy). This includes beloved household members such as your pet and your smart-phone.
3. Have a communications plan.
In most instances short of the Zombie Apocalypse, this will require a smart phone. (For that, you just need an axe.) Even post-earthquake Japan had access to the internet backbone. Chances are, you will too. A little prep, and you have instant access to authorities and first responders dealing with your emergency. Oh yeah, and to those folks worried sick about you, too.
4. Have a Go Bag.
Certain stuff should be always within arm’s reach: cash, ID, gadget chargers that don’t require AC, water, snacks, warm clothes, sturdy shoes and basic first aid kit. Basically, that’s one old gym bag, permanently located in your trunk, with a few extra water bottles thrown in for good measure. Done. Now, was that so hard?
5. Have an attitude.
You’re beautiful, and I like you already, but do this for us both: Look at yourself in the mirror and say to your reflection, “No one is coming to my rescue.” Repeat several times. I’m not being mean, and I’m not predicting the future, what I’m saying is: this is the attitude you need to be ready, just like I’m saying you need to prep supplies for three days. You need the expectation that you will be self-sufficient, whether that’s truly to be required of you or not.
You might not need the 3-day supply of water, either.
But you need to be ready.
Want to learn more? Stay tuned..
* Note: I just googled Justin Bieber, after several tries to spell it right, and I now know what he looks like. Hmmph. As a second-grader who thought, literally, that Shaun Cassidy was singing personally to her…I guess I cannot be judgey. Also: there are a lot of blog articles comparing the two. Also: YouTube is a time-suck. Gah.
Over to you… Is this a Disaster Ready Checklist You Can Believe In?