Emergency Preparedness

Posted By on March 21, 2011

We all have been watching the heart-wrenching news about Japan’s tragic tsunami, earthquake and nuclear meltdown.

The news also reports how “prepared” Japan was for disaster since they have yearly earthquake and tsunami drills and make emergency kits. It’s a little flippant to say the country was the most “prepared.” How prepared can you be for what our Japanese friends are experiencing?

Living in a hurricane zone, we here along the Gulf Coast have some idea of disaster preparedness, but until it happens, you realize how little you can ready yourself.  Hurricane Ike was a big learning lesson for us in Houston and Galveston. Houstonians were dealing with wind damage and power outages, and just an hour away, our Galveston friends were dealing with flood waters, fires and wind damage.

So what can you do to prepare for an emergency?

Go digital. Scan in your important papers and photos and upload them to Evernote or Dropbox. Photos can be added to those sites or can be uploaded to picture management sites, such as Flickr and Kodak Gallery.  If something happens, you can access any of your papers and photos on an external Web site.

Keep information safe. You can also send copies of your papers, photos (on a disk), set of keys, and other information to a family member or trusted friend for safekeeping. This way if something happens, you can retrieve your information.

Have a meeting place. Your family should have a meeting place where you can regroup if you’re separated. Also, have an emergency text code for your family members to use. In case of fire, have a meeting place so you know everyone is out of the house. Think the neighbor’s driveway.

Create emergency kits. Keep your first-aid kit up-to-date and replace anything that’s expired. In the Gulf Coast area, we all know to keep canned goods, a manual can opener, candles, matches, flashlight, extra batteries, radio, a grill, charcoal and extra water for hurricanes. Keep your cell phones charged and have some cash on hand in case you can’t access an ATM.

Maintain the Car. During hurricane season, monitor the weather and keep your car in good running order and filled with gas.  Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Have an empty gas can in case you need one, and keep a flashlight and blanket in your trunk.

Refill medication. If you take medication, make sure you have your prescriptions refilled. Scan a copy of your prescription and put it into Evernote or Dropbox in case you need to get an emergency refill.

Gather pet supplies. Don’t forget the pets. Have plenty of food, water and medicine for them. Scan in their papers and medication prescriptions. Most pets adopted today are microchipped in case they get lost.

With preparation, you can improve your chances of getting through an emergency. Just know that no amount of preparation will prepare you for what our friends in Japan are experiencing.

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