September is National Preparedness Month. Emergencies often happen with little warning. You may only have minutes to evacuate. To improve your chances for survival, it is best to have a plan and prepare a kit or “grab and go” bag.
I used the guide from Judith Kolberg’s Organize for Disaster: Prepare Your Family and Home for any Natural or Unnatural Disaster. Another great source is Ready Georgia – http://ready.ga.gov/Pepare.
First develop a plan with your family on what everyone is to do if disaster strikes. Then practice that plan. If everyone is at home, one person might be assigned the job of corralling pets and putting them in carriers. Another might have the job of pulling out sleeping bags or bedding. Another may load the car. If the family is not together, have plans on how you will communicate and where you will connect.
Make sure your car is ready if disaster hits. Keep the car well maintained and always have a half tank or more of gas. Make sure the spare tire is usable and the jack and jumper cables are easy to access.
Next have in place a “grab and go” bag and/or clear bins already prepared to put into your car.
Some items for your kit will have to do with safety and communication. Have a radio, flashlight with extra batteries, and a first aid kit with your medications and prescriptions. Have your purse in a consistent place nearby with your cell phone, charge cards, and drivers license. It would be a good idea to have an extra phone charger that lives in this kit. You may not have time to gather up such items. Have emergency apps already downloaded on you phone. Check out http://www.redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps.
Some items will allow you to survive outside for a while. Have food, water, can opener, matches, blankets, plastic bags, a plastic drop sheet, a Dopp kit, tissue, and a pen knife in your kit. Also have a change of clothes and shoes, extra glasses, extra keys, and a pen and paper.
Have a prepared folder with all of your essential documents, information and cash. Have names/phone numbers/email addresses/ account numbers as well as contact numbers for insurance, utilities, banks, etc.
If you have a pet, also include vet/shot information as well as extra collars and leads, pet food, a dish, blanket, and a toy.
It takes a considerable amount of time to assemble this kit. Break it down into smaller segments and complete one section a week until you are finished. Then update it every September.
It will give you great comfort to know that this kit is ready for you should you ever need it.
Jonda S. Beattie Professional Organizer