National Preparedness Month

Decisions_decisionsContributed by Rachel Stever  September is National Preparedness Month in the US. I’ve mentioned before about my tendency to plan for as many eventualities as possible with regards to big things. I generally plan ahead by a couple of months for everyday things, but I’ve
realized that I am not as prepared as I could be for small emergencies.

Growing up in Phoenix, I have been fortunate enough to not have to worry about natural disasters too much. My evacuation plan basically consists of three steps: put the dogs and cat in the car; pick up my Grandma; call my dad for further instructions. 

I’ve also never put much energy into creating a disaster recovery plan in case of being without access to services for a while. A lot of things would be taken care of because of other things I’ve already setup. Digital versions of important documents are backed up to cloud-based storage and family photos have all been scanned and saved on a photo-hosting website. I recently created a home inventory for my insurance company and realized that about half my work was done since I had already created a digital catalog of my books.

But there are other things to take into account. I have not-so-fond memories of my mother’s Y2K prep closet (when the computers continued working we had to eat canned chili for months). I also have a small apartment so I only bulk buy things I use every day. I have a  good flashlight but most of the batteries in my junk drawer are dead. My only first aid kit is a little travel-sized thing that probably isn’t allowed on a plane anymore. I realized this could be a problem last month when I came down with strep throat.

Nothing big was at stake, no city-wide blackouts or raging rivers, and I thought I had a handle on things. I picked up my prescription and made some tea, sure that I would be back to normal in a day or so. The next day I woke up feverish and unable to speak. Still not huge on the scale of emergencies but very annoying, particularly when I went into the kitchen and realized that I had not been to the grocery store in a while. I also discovered that the medical contents of my medicine cabinet were limited to a bottle of ibuprofen and some antacids. After a series of increasingly dramatic texts to my sister I was supplied with sore-throat friendly foods and a bottle of numbing spray. I resolved to take of the situation permanently when I felt was no longer contagious and could be trusted to operate my car.

I’m never going to be a true bulk shopper, at least not until I have a home with some more storage space. But my pantry has been stocked up and a quick trip through the local drugstore solved the first aid and medicine cabinet deficiencies. All the dead batteries have been disposed of and a fresh pack is in the drawer. I still have some things to do before I am really confident in my preparedness but I’m getting there.


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