Emergency Preparedness

I had been contemplating writing an article on emergency preparedness and being ready for the typical spring storms we get, which can be accompanied by disruption of power and essential services. I live in the Midwest, in a town that had 15 tornadoes on Memorial Day 2019, so the thought of life-altering storms is never far from our thinking.

Preparing myself for the spread of COVID-19

In the meantime, before I put fingers to keyboard, another cause for emergency preparedness grabbed the headlines – yes, I’m thinking of COVID-19. There is nothing ‘doomsday’ in my thinking about this spreading virus, but it does warrant a pause in routines and rethinking on how to be prepared if my hometown community is affected, or even worse if someone in my close family becomes ill.

Even if I didn’t have multiple sclerosis, I should still give emergency preparedness some extra thought.

Having the necessities

If I were to need to stay home for 14-21 days, or perhaps even longer, in either a self-imposed or government-ordered quarantine, would I have the necessities? There’s no need to buy cases of toilet paper but the shortlist would include food/favorite drinks, toiletries, and items for personal hygiene. The other list of essentials would include making sure I have enough of the prescription and over the counter drugs I take, to last me for about 30 days. The American Red Cross has Coronavirus: Safety and Readiness Tips available online if you want to see their suggestions.

Other things that are useful in a weather emergency

Since we’re already preparing for an event that may or may not happen, we might go ahead and include the other things that could be useful in a weather emergency. That shortlist includes water, flashlights with spare batteries, and my medical records in some portable form I can access if needed. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has a checklist of essentials that you can tuck away in case of an emergency. Many people have four-legged family members, too, and the Red Cross also has information on Pet Disaster Preparedness which you can review.

Doing what we can to be prepared

The reality is few of us will ever be totally prepared for an emergency, but it might help to at least think of the possibilities and how we will need to respond. The other sad reality is to stock up with supplies for an extended period of time takes money, which isn’t necessarily easy to come by. Many people don’t have the luxury of buying extras, and instead must limit their shopping to essentials, and can instead focus on those checklist items that don’t cost extra. I hope each of us will do what we can to be prepared – you never know what might come next.

Wishing you well,

Laura

Please note this article was written on March 10, 2020.

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