Disasters can be anything including a bad winter storm, hurricane, tornado, fire, flood, mudslide, or even a volcano eruption. Then again disasters can mean a severe illness, car accident, theft or major injury. That's why it's important to be ready for any type of emergency situation.
Back in the spring, I attended the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) National Conference. One of the speakers was Laurie Teal, who presented her talk: In 5 minutes or Less Would Your Clients Be Ready?
During her talk, she posed a number of questions to help us consider whether we'd be ready if a catastrophe struck. These included:
- Do you have at your fingertips all the medical, financial, and personal information you need should anything happen?
- If your child or spouse was hurt would you know who to call? (think: employer, school, medical providers, professional associations, volunteer committees)
- Do you and your partner know each other's medical histories and medications? (including doctors, specialists, and other medical staff)
- If you were in the hospital at length would your partner know how to keep the house running? (bills, school info on the kids, home business protocol)
- Have you considered and prepared for your end of life plan?
These seem like extreme instances, but in all honesty, these situations happen regularly. Though they may be tough questions, they're questions that need to be answered - sooner rather than later!
If this list is too daunting to figure out all on your own, a Professional Organizer or Productivity Specialist would be happy to help you explore these what-if scenarios to help you come up with solutions and organizing tools to fit your needs if and when such an occasion should arise.
A couple resources that will prove helpful include:
Clicking the above hyperlink will bring you to FEMA's webpage on how to build a family supply kit.
The CDC also has a page dedicated to creating an emergency kit and they have a special checklist geared for families with children with special needs.
The American National Red Cross site has checklists for building a survival kit, gives scenarios for which you'd have to prepare for, has templates for making disaster plans and a free emergency app you can download.
Click on the link to access free downloadable Advance Directive Forms by state.
This is a secure, digital archive of everything your loved ones will need if something should happen to you. And if we're thinking worst case scenario, Everplan has a list of creative things to do with cremated ashes.
It's quite possible that you and your loved ones may have already been through a horrific event. If that's the case, think about what could have been done differently or what would have made things easier and less stressful. Here's hoping some of these preparedness ideas can ease the burden for when the next emergency strikes.