For National Preparedness Month, it is useful to assess your readiness for an emergency. If you were notified you had to leave your home within the hour, what would you do and what would you regret not having in place? Here are eight tips to consider for increasing your preparedness:
- Develop a habit to keep cell phones always charged above 50%.
- Fill your gas tank when it is half empty.
- Understand the most likely emergency triggers in your area (e.g., fire, hurricane, power outage) and think through how best to prepare for them.
- Know where you would go first in an emergency: ideally, one place within five miles (emergency shelter), a place within 50 miles (temporary evacuation) and a place within 500 miles (longer-term family or friends).
- Keep some cash handy. How much? It depends on your getaway plan: consider having enough for gas and food for two to three days. Or, at least enough to get a cab home from work.
- Keep a printed phone list of emergency contacts just in case the network is down or your own phone is damaged or lost and you need to borrow someone’s.
- Think through what you would grab if you had either 5 or 50 minutes – keep a list somewhere easy to see so you don’t have to think about it if the crisis actually hit.
- “Go Kits” are popular for cars, but if you don’t have one and don’t see yourself building one, at least keep a small amount of cash and an emergency phone list in the glove compartment.
Remember, redundancy is good in emergency. Having a $20 bill stored behind your cell phone cover may make it far easier to get home in a workplace evacuation and having a list of the 20 items you would take if you had 50 minutes to leave might make an emergency far easier to manage.