06 September 2008

Being Prepared

September is National Preparedness Month.

Just yesterday, a couple of my fellow organizers and I wrote up an informational press release to help members of our community be prepared, just in case. Ironically, tonight when I came home from dinner out with a friend, I discovered that I had no running water. Apparently the water tank has run very low and, this being a dry (drought) year, the well has been inadequate in its duty of keeping the storage tank topped off. Oy. I’ve put a call in to Puryear water delivery so that Bill Puryear can bring me a load of water to refill the tank, which will set me back about a 100 bucks.

Luckily, I have water stashed here and there, enough to get through until Bill comes to save the day. And once I remembered that I have water stashed, I stopped stressing about the pipes being dry. Once again, I have everything I need for this instant, and can be grateful that all really is okay.

So, for your amusement and benefit, here are the preparedness tips that we wrote up yesterday. Hope they help you.

Prepare a communication plan. This includes important contact information for family and friends, and who will contact whom. Remember, if the power goes out and your phone cell dies, you will be without your phone list. So keep a written hard copy and an old-fashioned non-electric telephone handy.

Agree upon a reunion plan. Where will you meet, and when?

Stock up on the necessities of life. The general rule of thumb is three days and three nights of provisions to get you through 72 hours of living without electricity. (In Humboldt County, you may want to plan for longer outages.) Don’t forget your pets! Necessary provisions include one gallon of water per person per day, basic grains, and ready-to-eat, non-perishable food. Remember to include a manual can opener.

Pretend you’re camping. Have a camp stove, fuel, water purification system, a flashlight, extra batteries, candles, waterproof matches, toiletries, and a first aid kit readily accessible. (You may want to keep another first aid kit in your car, too.)

Don’t forget your medications. Advice varies, but we suggest having a two-week supply of all important prescriptions available. Remember to rotate them each time you refill your prescription so that they don’t expire.

Create a Grab and Go bag. This contains a change of clothes (extra underwear for children), jackets, blankets, basic toiletries, a picture of each family member, high-protein bars, bottled water, and your essential documents file. (For more information on creating a documents file, see below.)

Have a radio with extra batteries.
A NOAA weather radio is a good idea, especially if you’re in a tsunami zone. Either way, tune to KHUM at 104.3 or 104.7 FM for excellent live local coverage.

How to Create a Documents File:

What goes in a documents file?

Anything that would be a nuisance to replace. This includes:

A copy of all the cards in your wallet, front and back.

A copy of your driver's license.

Your passport.

Other vital documents such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, adoption papers, naturalization papers, your social security card.

A copy of your most recent insurance policies.

Photos of your valuable possessions.

Photos of your pets and other family members.

Your vehicles' pink slips.

Any other deeds showing title to property.

A copy of your most recent tax return.

A copy of your "just in case" data -- all that information someone would need to pick up the pieces if anything happened to you. (You can purchase my e-booklet, Organizing Your Estate, which takes you through the steps for compiling this data. Go to www.wintersdaughterpress.com and click on e-books.)

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