1) Pre-plan a rendez-vous location. Everyone should know where to go if you get seperated and can’t communicate. This tips applies to general, disaster-readiness planning, but is also something to adopt when you go to any large event or location. If you have kids, especially, make sure they know that if they get seperated from you or lost, they should go to an easy-to-find location; you’ll all meet up there.
2) write down all of the important contact numbers. Make sure there’s a copy at home, in the car, in the office (if applicable) and in a secure online site. And by “important” I don’t just mean “911”. Think for a moment about who you’ll need/want to contact in a bad situation. Make sure their number is on the list. When in doubt, it’s better to have too many numbers than too few.
3) Anytime you’re going to be doing something really unusual (for you) or that might have some element of risk involved, leave a note to people you trust: “if i haven’t checked in by [time], please look into it”. Hiking? Camping? First date with someone you met on the Internet? Driving cross-country? Have a protocol for “checking in”. It doesn’t have to be a big production or anything. Even a quick email, blog post or tweet will do. Just something so that if you are gone for too long, someone will know to come looking and where.
4) Find some non-perishable food item that doesn’t require any real preperation. Canned goods or snack/breakfast bars are great for this. It doesn’t need to be tasty, but it should be something you think you could eat in a pinch, even if you can’t cook it (“mini beef ravioli” is one of my favorites). Next time you go to the grocery store, buy whatever else you went there to get, but also pick up one extra can/package of your non-perishable item-of-choice. When you get home, tuck it away in a part of the kitchen that’s accessible, but not handy (you don’t want to be tempted). Repeat this a few times and you’ll quickly have a small stockpile of “backup food” without too much of a hit to your wallet.
5) If you don’t already, get into the habit of checking the weather forecast for your area. Make it a point, once a day, to check a site like the National Weather Service or the Weather Underground. I do it each morning when I hop online to check my favorite
webcomics responsible news sites, like us adults do. 😉 Optionally, if you have a smart phone, get one of the many apps that will provide this information for you and get used to checking it there. Got an extra 30 seconds in line at the store? Check the weather!
The point is to get used to knowing what the weather will be like for the next few days and what the details of the weather in your area are like. Too many people are generally aware of this kind of information, but don’t bother to really understand it. Knowing…really knowing… what the climate is like in your area can really help your emergency preperations and inform your acts in the event of an actual situation. Additionally, it’ll make your non-disaster life better by keeping you informed.
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