Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Emergency Preparedness: Take Baby Steps

baby steps

Flylady teaches her readers to take baby steps to get the house clean and organized; the same principle works when it comes to emergency preparedness. While some people might want to set aside a chunk of time and dedicate it to getting prepared, other people will be more successful in taking a whole series of small steps.

I recently heard Margaret Lukens of Preparation Nation talk about three types of situations we need to be prepared for: We need to file (an insurance claim), flee (from a fire, for example) or freeze (shelter in place).

And in her blog, Margaret provides all sorts of ideas of baby steps we can take, such as:
- For those of us with pets, put a pet rescue alert sticker on the house.
- Keep some cash on hand.
- Learn how to turn off the gas.
- Get some QuakeHold - and use it.
- Take a CPR class.

Another useful site is SMC Ready - the emergency preparedness site for San Mateo County. The site has a number of checklists, and you could take any of those checklist items as your next baby step. For example, the home safety checklist includes this advice:
- Strap down your water heater and fit all gas appliances with a flexible gas supply line.
- Be sure your house number is visible from the street so emergency vehicles can find you.

You could also take small steps to create your emergency supply kit, using the SMC Ready checklist. You don't need to get everything together all at once! As Margaret says, you can begin with water.

As one parent said: "I used to get overwhelmed about emergency preparedness, but once I broke it down into small steps it got easier. ... I feel better knowing I'm ready instead of worrying about getting ready."

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