Dr. Marcie Goodman
People may ask, “Once I have set aside enough water, then what do I do?” Emergency preparedness is an ongoing activity. Few have the resources or opportunity to compile everything needed all at once. This article addresses some of the approaches and possible ways to organize for emergencies. Please keep in mind that however you structure your own plans and procedures, the most important aspect is to not procrastinate. If a disaster does strike, all the good intentions in the world will not help, so start right away to collect items on a regular basis that will benefit you and your family in case of trouble.
One tactic when beginning efforts is to gather preparedness items we already have into a special place (such an activity can be turned into a very productive project involving the whole family). We can utilize spare canvas bags or old backpacks to store specific items of one type or another.
For example, you may designate a case to hold tools such as an extra can opener, camp shovel, a pocket knife, additional flashlights with separate batteries, and so on. Taking inventory of what we have on hand, then collecting them into special places is a very good use of time, effort and money, since we are merely repurposing items we already possess without spending a cent. NOTE: a great idea is to ask for preparedness items as birthday or Christmas gifts.
Another way to begin is to sit down with the entire family and have a planning session concerning how to best deal with possible disasters. Using published guides from trusted sources, such as the federal or state government (www.ready.gov or www.beready.utah.gov), decide how you will move forward for your individual needs and situation.
Many choose to put together a car kit as an important step, particularly if you spend quite a bit of time in your automobile. Others designate the 96-hour kit as an essential part of their preparedness efforts. Some people begin buying a few extra storage staples (such as peanut butter or mac & cheese) every time they go to the store in order to have a bit of extra food on hand during emergencies. If your budget allows, you may choose to add prepackaged, freeze-dried foods from special commercial sellers to supplement your food storage.
You may want to build a dedicated first aid kit for your family’s particular health needs (or purchase a pre-made version). Whatever you decide on, make certain the whole family is on board, that you follow your plan (as well as adhering to your budget), and that you consistently move forward (look for more information in the future in this column about various types of kits and long-term storage).
Keep in mind that it is easy to become overwhelmed when thinking about emergencies, but planning carefully and taking small steps will help overcome such anxieties.