From the archives…Do you have a plan in case of emergencies? In this very hot and dry summer (at least here in Vermont), and with many fires burning in the US West, having a plan could make an awful situation less so.

While not wanting to wish anything terrible on anyone, do you know what kind(s) of natural disaster(s) are most likely to occur where you live and/or work? Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, erupting volcanoes? Do you have insurance to protect you? It might be worth a call to your agent or company to find out.

Other actions to protect yourself and those dear to you –

  • Sign up for alerts. News stations, local emergency management organizations and municipalities may provide text alerts.
  • Gather important information – on paper. Create a list of household members’ phone numbers, birth dates, social security numbers and medical needs, in case your cell phone quits. Note their frequent locations (work, school) and addresses, phone numbers and evacuation routes. Update this information annually, if not more often. Be sure that everyone in your household has a copy. Digitize the plan and store it, with insurance documents and medical records, on a cloud service.
  • Care for your neighbors. Contact those around you. Would anyone need extra help in an emergency, like the elderly, those with special needs, children? If you live in an apartment building, how to inform neighbors about fire, power outage, or gas leak?
  • Determine meeting places in case of emergencies, away from the affected area(s).
  • Be sure that kids know how to call 911.
  • Establish an out-of-town contact.
  • Pack a water-resistant disaster bag with three days’ worth of non-perishable food and water for each person, and five days’ worth for each pet. Needed – one gallon of water per person per day. Include kids’ favorite board games and blankets, pets’ toys. Also – a crank-operated radio, solar-powered flashlight, electronics chargers and jump starter cables for your car. Add some cash.
  • Download apps that could help in a crunch – American Red Cross, FEMA, Waze (for evacuation routes), GasBuddy (for the closest gas station), ASPCA (for emergency pet boarding).

While these suggestions may not be fun to consider and could take some time, they could make a real difference. At the least, they could make people more comfortable. At the most, they could save lives.

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Not Fun to Think About, But Important