Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

How to Prepare for an Emergency

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Sep 20, 2017 3:54 PM

Think about how your daily family life functions when things are routine. Your routines may change a bit from day to day, but there are many things that are likely pretty much the same. You probably get up, spend some time in the bathroom, get something to drink and eat, maybe take some medications and get started with your day. Three fundamental things make your daily routine possible, and they are skills, tools and supplies. Your skills include things such as the ability to cook your breakfast. Tools are things such as your refrigerator, stove, toothbrush and hair dryer. Your supplies are every consumable product from shampoo to bread for toast or coffee to make your morning pick-me-up. You already know how to survive the routine, and here is how to prepare for emergencies.

Acquire Emergency Education

Skill sets are first in your daily non-emergency routines, and they are mission critical for emergency situations. If you have the physical and mental capability of being able to prepare some pancake batter and make pancakes for breakfast, you can learn first aid to save your life or that of a loved one during an emergency situation when emergency services are overwhelmed or otherwise unable to respond. You should learn CPR too, and then keep learning. Move onto advanced first aid and wilderness medical training. Learn fundamental skills necessary for the environment and geographical location you live in. Get trained for the emergencies you are most likely to experience where you live.

Tools Make the Difference

If you were stuck in the Arctic during a blizzard, a down parka is a necessary survival tool. On the other hand, a piece of an old tarp to create shade in the desert is also a survival tool. Avoid exotic tools/gear that you do not have an intimate and intuitive knowledge of how to use. Whether you call them tools, gear or kit, things you use to get by in an emergency situation should be as familiar as the items you use every day. You will not likely have time to stop and read the instructions during an emergency situation, so practice with any tool you keep on hand for emergencies until you can use them as adeptly as you can your toothbrush. However, one thing to keep in mind is the potential need for immediate evacuation from your home, so having emergency preparedness kits packed and ready to move out the door is very beneficial.

Keeping Supplies Everywhere

If your neighbor knocked on your door to borrow a cup of sugar, you know exactly where it is at in your kitchen. You may have some stored in a sugar bowl and a canister with a backup supply in a kitchen cabinet. You also probably have a general idea of how much food you have on hand to meet your family needs before it is necessary to go shopping again. If you are a mom with young children, you probably have some quick snacks in your purse along with something to clean small sticky hands and faces. At work, you may keep adhesive bandages, hand sanitizer, candy and other things in a drawer. In other words, you probably have supplies to handle routine situations wherever you go. Use this same attitude for squirreling away supplies at work and school for emergencies. An extra set of clothes, hiking footwear, food and water, extra medicines, first aid supplies, and even flashlights or glow sticks could prove invaluable in an emergency wherever it happens.

You already know exactly what your family needs to get by for the next three days from food to any special items such as asthma or diabetes medication and supplies. In your preparations for emergencies, have the skills, tools and supplies to get by for three days or longer if your entire community support system collapses. You and each family member should have the basics needed to endure the environment you live in for three days using what is available to them at home, work, school or when evacuating to a shelter. It does not need to be fancy, it just needs to work.

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