Friday, September 11, 2009

Exploring the Steps - Step 3 - Document Everything

(This is part 4 of a 4 part series. Read parts 1, 2 and 3 here.)

You are aware you need a plan.  You are also aware you need to take yourself out of the equation when making the plan. Now we need to document the plan.  Why you say? Glad you asked.  You must document the plan or the plan is of no use. In an emergency you do not have the time or energy to remember the whole plan.  Even if you could remember everything you need to be able to clearly explain it to others.  A crisis is not the time to calmly and quickly tell other people how to react to the situation.

Gather Your Information. So how do you go about documentation? Once again, glad you asked. You begin by gathering the information you need for your plan to work. Start with the basics. Write down information about each person such as date of birth, social security information, medical conditions and allergies.  Then find the paperwork to support that. Collect birth certificates, social security cards, and medical records.

When it comes time to write down "the plan" remember that you probably have lots of plans.  You will have a plan for medical emergency, a plan for fire, a plan for evacuation, a plan for death, etc. It can be a lot of paperwork. (Now is a great time to mention Prepared Binder - Home Edition is a great way to organize all of that information.)

Be Specific in Your Plan.  If you are evacuating to Uncle Frank's house, put a map to Uncle Frank's house in the plan.  Include his phone number, address, email and cell phone.  Also include an out of state contact who can field calls from you.  Sometimes it is easier to make a long distance call than a local one when there is a local emergency.

Practice the Plan. Now before you have visions of fire drills at 2 am, I want you to take a deep breath. Why do you think schools insist on fire drills? They do it because they know the best way to get people out of the building quickly is for them to know how to get out quickly. They don't just talk about it, they do it.  I am sure we have all walked "quickly and quietly" out of our classroom, through the building doors and to the field until they gave the all clear signal.  It was boring, but orderly.

I remember a report from a passenger on the airplane which landed in the Hudson River this January.  He said that the passengers did everything the little safety speech told them not to do. He said people were screaming (understandable) and that they tried to climb over the seats and each other, some even tried to take their luggage.  How many times have we heard the airplane speech about finding your nearest exit (it may be behind you) and leaving your luggage?  I for one have never practiced evacuating a plane, so I am sure I would have been worse than the people in the Hudson River.

So practice your plan.  Evacuate your home in 15 minutes, drive to the emergency room, locate your documents to supply your insurance agent after a "theft." You can do it.  Then when you have a real emergency you can deal with it "quickly and quietly."

Today's Question: Have you practiced your plan?

No comments:

Post a Comment