Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Be prepared to be resilient

Posted on 05 September 2016 by Calvin

Ready and Resilient by TRUDY DUNHAM

Be prepared. It works for the Boy Scouts. It also works for life. We are more flexible, more efficient and more resilient when we are prepared for what life sends us.

And climate change is sending us a lot of severe weather. So take advantage of National Preparedness Month to get ready! Have the conversations, put your plans in writing, and gather supplies for your emergency kits!

How are we impacted by severe weather?
The most common impact is the loss of power. No electricity. This can mean no lights, the inability to cook a meal or to charge or use a cell phone, and limitations on our ability to work or entertain ourselves. Our food supplies may be endangered. We may not be able to stay warm or cool. If the power outage is prolonged, there can be safety concerns.

Storms can result in unexpected school and business closures, disrupt transportation routes and leave family members stranded. Severe weather can mean we can’t stay in our home, and we may even need to evacuate our community.

The result is often confusion and chaos—unless we have thought about it, talked it over with our family, and formed a plan.

As you hold that conversation, include these questions: Can everyone text their location and confirm their safety in severe weather or other emergencies? What out-of-town person could act as your backup emergency contact? Can everyone memorize that person’s phone number? Where is a safe meeting place in your neighborhood, in case your home is unavailable? A meeting place outside of your neighborhood? Can everyone get there on their own?

If you live alone, or if you may need assistance, identify several people who can help you. Talk with them about your needs and your plan. If you have pets, don’t forget to consider their needs.

R&R FormsPlan, then prepare
Once you have your plan, then you need to take the action steps to be prepared to respond quickly without panicking. Some habits that can help you be ready include:
• Keep gas in the car, or have a Bus Pass or Go Card so that you can transport yourself
• Renew prescriptions so you always have at least a week’s supply on hand
• Keep your cell phone at least half charged
• Write out instructions on how to turn off utilities (water, gas, electricity), and place them by the various switches, with any tools needed to turn them off.
• Carry Emergency Information in your wallet
• Have your Emergency To-Go Bag packed and easily accessible
• Have your Emergency House Kit stocked and in the safest part of your home (likely the basement or bathroom)

R&R WalletWallet Emergency Information (left) includes your emergency out-of-town contact (name, phone number) and safe meeting place (name, address, phone number, how to get there) information. It is good to have this written down as many people have difficulty recalling details in a crisis. If you are unable to communicate, emergency personnel may find it.

The Emergency To-Go bag holds things you may need if you have to leave your home on short notice and are not sure when you can get back.
• Copies of identity information, insurance and bank documents, and prescriptions for glasses or medications
• Cash (smaller bills)
• Complete change of clothes, suitable to the weather (include shoes)
• Personal hygiene supplies
• Flashlight with batteries

Your Emergency House Kit will have things you need if you have to shelter in your home for several days without utilities. Recommended supplies include:
• 3 gallons of water per person, for drinking and sanitation (3 day supply)
• 3-day supply of non-perishable food per person, that does not require cooking
• Paper plates, cups, plastic utensils, paper towels, multipurpose tool
• First aid kit
• Garbage bags, ties and moist wipes for sanitation
• Flashlights and batteries
• Weather radio (battery powered or hand crank)
• Special needs supplies (e.g., diapers for infants, pet food, etc.)
• Games, books and other activities
• Blankets, sleeping bag, tarp

Federal websites offer more complete lists and information to help you prepare:
• https://www.ready.gov/publications
• http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/npm/index.htm
• http://www.nctsn.org/resources/public-awareness/national-preparedness-month%20
When you have your information and kits in place, hold a practice drill. Have a friend text “emergency preparedness drill” to each member of your family. Each member should then text the emergency contact and proceed to the agreed-upon safe meeting site on their own. As you gather, talk about what worked well, or not so well. Then celebrate your preparedness!

The Ready & Resilient Hamline Midway project is an initiative of the Hamline Midway Environmental Group (HMEG) to build climate change resilience in our community.