Friday, September 17, 2010

Now What?

In the last few posts we have identified possible emergencies, we have started making plans and we have identified resources to help us with out planning.  The next logical step is to put the plan into action.

If your plan calls for you to pack a tent and sleep in the woods (it could happen...) then you should own a tent and know how to put it up.  I promise you do not want to take a brand new tent off the shelf and take it out of the bag for the first time in the dark without any idea how it goes together.  So do that in your backyard as a fun family activity long before you have a need.

If your plan calls for a telephone chain to keep your family informed, then have a dry run.  Make a game out of it and use the "chain of command" to gather clues for a family activity.

If your plan includes the assumption a family member is injured and/or not home, practice that when they are away for the afternoon.

If you have an evacuation plan (and you should) take the time to evacuate.  Drive to a local park and unpack what you took.  Find out if you really could survive the night.  If not, figure out what was missed and how you prevent that from happening again.

Once you have evaluated your plans, go back and see where you need improvement.  Don't think that just because you tested the plan 10 years ago you are fine today.  Schools have fire drills once a month.  They don't do this because they think it would be fun to stand in the snow while the building is cleared.  They do this to make sure every person knows exactly what to do and won't panic when they hear the alarm.

Set a schedule to review your plans and update them where needed.  Make sure your legal documents are current.  This means you need to review wills and trusts along with financial plans.  How many times do we have to hear of families with wills that don't include all of their children before we remember to review and amend ours appropriately?

So the answer to "What's Next?" is easy, just keep it going.  Things change, circumstances change, and rats eat your tent.  Keep on top of it, at least once a year, and you will not only feel more secure, you will be ready to go camping at a moment's notice. (No, the Hilton doesn't count!)

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