Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Exploring the Steps - Step 1- Have a Plan

(This is part 2 of a 4 part series. Read part 1 here.)

No one wants to dwell on unpleasant things. (Okay, most of us don't anyway.) It isn't fun to think about our house burning down, or the need to evacuate in front of a wildfire or flood. It isn't nice to contemplate the results of accidents or injuries. Do it anyway.  Your ability to make it through such an event with minimal impact to you and your family directly relates to how well you think it through and plan for it.

Start with the Basics. Figure out what your response will be for each type of event.  For example: "If our house catches on fire we will gather the family at Uncle Frank's house. A copy of our insurance records are located in the files we keep with Aunt Betsy." Then make sure each of those details is arranged.

Build on the Basics. Take it one step further and figure out what you need to make it through an emergency.  For example: "If we have 15 minutes to evacuate, we will need to grab the family paperwork binder (Prepared Binder - Home Edition is wonderful for this!), the 72 hour emergency kits, the medication box, the family photos located in the living room bookcase, and the pets." Consider making lists for each person so they know what they need to get. Clipping those lists to the prepared 72 hour kits is a great way for each person to know what to do in an emergency.

Communicate the Plan. It is a good idea to have a plan, in fact it is an amazing idea to have a plan.  It is even better to have a plan people know about.  If you think evacuating to Uncle Frank's house is the best move, then Uncle Frank better know about it.  The rest of the family will feel better knowing where to find you as well. Also, if the kids aren't home when disaster strikes, they will know to meet at Uncle Frank's house and everyone will spend a lot less time worrying about the family. When communicating your plan with your extended family you can take the time to find out what their plans are as well.

So now that you have a plan, make sure all of the details are arranged. You will need different plans for different situations, so make sure you document the details. Use the planning stage to identify what you know and what you need to know. Start with one thing at a time and work through the details.

Once you have a plan in place, share it with your family and practice it. A coach would never send a football team on the field to run an unpracticed play, don't send your family into a crisis with an unpracticed response.

Happy Planning!

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