“There’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.” Especially considering that disaster can strike without notice, this Stephen King quote offers sage advice.
We plan many aspects of our lives, from finances to marriage to children. Surprisingly, for many, disaster planning ends up being a low priority; in fact only 1 in 4 feel concerned about a disaster and, sadly, 64% of Americans do NOT have a plan in place.
Are you and your family adequately prepared? Even if you believe you are, it is important to periodically consider what to do in an emergency before it happens. Please consider these important steps to preparedness.
Have a Plan: FEMA recommends 10 essential actions to develop a plan:
- Learn the threats in your area
- Identify meeting places
- Have an out-of-state contact
- Know your evacuation routes
- Know the location of utility shut-offs
- Know the emergency policies of schools and adult day care centers
- Identify safe spots in each room to take cover
- Have a supply of extra medications
- Make special provision for those who need extra support
- Practice annual disaster drills with your family
Although we may have thoughts of these in our minds, writing them down and practicing them can help assure your household members know what to do in an emergency. Disaster often comes without warning; preparedness helps keep people calmer and better able to react.
Keep Emergency Supplies: Ten of the essentials are :
- Water for 3-10 days, 1 gallon per person per day
- Food for 3-10 days. Don’t forget to include your pets
- First aid kit with instructions
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Radio and extra batteries
- Medications: Keep both prescription and some non-prescription, e.g. Advil.
- Cash and important documents
- Clothing and sturdy shoes
- Tools including a fire extinguisher
- Sanitation and hygiene supplies
Keeping morale up is as important. So it is a good idea to have activities available like board games, a deck of cards and other non-electrical entertainment.
Stay informed: Power failures often occur during emergencies. To assure you are connecting with broadcasted emergency information:
- Keep at least one battery-powered radio in your household. When power is restored check websites such as local law enforcement and National Weather Services for updates.
- Keep in mind that a car radio may be the most accessible means to hear emergency broadcasts, but be cognizant of the battery level.
- Reach out to your neighbors and community to encourage them to plan with you so you can work together in the face of disaster.
Get involved: Similar to helping your family and loved ones prepare, your local neighbors and community may also need support. Consider setting up neighborhood networks to help:
- Care for children and the elderly
- Care for people with mobility problems and disabilities
- Rescue household pets
- Activate phone trees
- Turn off utilities when a neighbor is absent
Personally you might consider:
- Taking Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. You can contact your local Fire department for details.
- Learning First Aid & CPR
- Becoming a HAM Radio operator
- Learning about the resources already in your neighborhood
Monitor and review: Consider revisiting the plan on an annual basis to:
- Update the roster for those who may have developed mobility issues.
- Assure freshness and adequacy of supplies.
For more information on neighborhood preparedness download the ESP AWARE Plan for communities at www.espfocus.org.
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Mitchell Kauffman provides wealth management services to corporate executives, business owners, professionals, independent women, and the affluent. He is one of only five financial advisors from across the U.S. named to Research magazine’s prestigious Advisor Hall of Fame in 2010, and among a select list of 100 over the past 20 years.
Inductees into the Advisor Hall of Fame have passed a rigorous screening, served a minimum of 15 years in the industry, acquired substantial assets under management, demonstrate superior client service, and have earned recognition from their peers and the broader community.
Kauffman’s articles have appeared in national publications, and he is often quoted in the media. He is an Instructor of Financial Planning and Investment Management at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
For more information, visit www.kwmwealthadvisory.com or call (866) 467-8981. Investment products and services are offered through Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network LLC (WFAFN), Member SIPC. KWM Wealth Advisory is a separate entity from WFAFN.
 Forbes “American Neither Worried Nor Prepared In Case of Disaster: SUNYIT–Zogby Analytics Poll. 5/16/13
 FEMA: Federal Emergency Management Agency, www.fema.gov.
 City of Los Angeles Emergency Preparedness Department: Emergency.LACity.Org, Emergency Kit Checklist.