September is National Preparedness Month.
There are a lot of special days, weeks and months to observe – in fact, a quick search of any solitary day may reveal a litany of causes to celebrate, from International Talk Like A Pirate Day (argh, matey – it’s on Sep. 19!) or National Clams on the Halfshell Day (who knew?!).
However, I’m hoping you’ll join me in setting aside a little time during the remainder of this month to take a few steps to ensure that you and your family are prepared and informed in the event of an emergency. I’ve taken several wilderness first aid classes through my friend Tom Burroughs of Ozark Safety & Rescue Educators, and they really opened my eyes as a parent to the things I needed to be more prepared to handle on behalf of my family, even in suburbia.
A recent conversation with another friend and encourager, Ed Cooley of Ed Cooley’s White River Gallery in historic downtown Rogers, was an excellent reminder that there is no such thing as over-prepared. In fact, he would likely not be alive today if not for the insistence by his wife Faith that he have a SPOT communication device. (I’ve written Ed’s story as well as a profile of his absolutely stunning photography for the October issue of 2NJoy Magazine).
National Preparedness Month and the Ready Campaign are initiatives of FEMA, and the American Red Cross (Prepare Your Home & Family) is also an excellent source for preparedness resources. Being prepared ranges from awareness of natural disasters and inclement weather to access to health and first aid resources. The premise of preparedness is stated simply on the Arkansas Ready website:
Here are a few things I have done in the past or will do this month to ensure my family is well-equipped in an emergency, as well as links and resources if you’d like to do the same. What are you going to do?
- Take the National Preparedness Coalition’s “Pledge to Prepare” (complete).
- Keep my Adult & Pediatric CPR & AED certifications current (complete).
- Update the emergency information cards in both my daughters’ bags.
- Update family emergency bracelets (sample) for hiking, airports, crowded festivals (complete).
- Complete a Family Emergency & Communication Plan.
- Check our smoke alarms and upstairs fire escape ladder.
- Update emergency kits (another list here) – one in the house and one “go bag.”
- Schedule our flu shots (I used to be a martyr and skip this, but I could make an older person or my child sick).
- Update our first aid kits (in the house, in the car and quick grab kits for hiking, biking etc.)
- Keep an active prescription for a Twinject epi-pen for anaphylactic shock (complete).
- Check our emergency radio and follow weather and emergency services and #ARWX via Twitter (follow my list!)
- Ensure our valuables and irreplaceable documents (birth and marriage certificates, wills, life insurance information, passports, social security cards) are in either a safe deposit box or fire-proof safe.
- Annual reregistration: Benton County Public Alerts, 40/29 Weather Alerts and closings.
- Ask for a SPOT GPS device for Christmas. 🙂
A few resources:
- Visit ReadyArkansas – A State of Preparedness for many of the previously mentioned resources.
- Check out this preparedness book giveaway to one million families and get your e-book.
- The American Red Cross in Arkansas has many tools, classes and resources, as well as a free first aid app.
- FEMA’s Ready.gov site is an excellent clearinghouse.
- Visit the Benton County Division of Public Safety.
Overboard? Probably. I’m ok with that. Overwhelming? Probably a little of that too – but fortunately, there is a whole month. I tackle a few of these things at a time to improve our preparedness overall. Hope it’s helpful – what would YOU add to the list, and what will you do first?
Images are from the ReadyArkansas website and are used here to increase awareness and not for personal gain.