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National Preparedness Month: Make a plan

We’re almost half way through the month…are you getting more prepared? As a friendly reminder it’s National Preparedness Month – this is the month of the year to take 30 days to organize yourself, your family, and your home for an emergency. Last week we discussed preparing an emergency kit. Now that that’s done – next we need to have a PLAN!

If a disaster strikes your family, you may not be all physically in one location – mom could be reading on a bench by the St. Louis Arch, dad could be at work, and the kids could be at school. Creating a plan will ensure that everyone knows how to communicate, how you will get back together, and what to do in various situations. The Ready Campaign advises to designate a single person as your family emergency contact – ideally someone out of town. Depending on the emergency it may be easier to get a hold of someone out of town than to call someone local. This person could be a grandparent, sibling, or close friend. Make sure this is someone that everyone in the family knows and is comfortable with. Learn to text message. Phone systems could be down but text messaging may still work. This may be your only means of communication in the event of an emergency. Also, each person must memorize their phone number and have money, a working cell phone or pre-paid calling card in order to make a phone call. Consider signing up for a local alert system where you can be notified of a local emergency via your cell phone. Also check out this list for a complete listing of emergency contacts and resources in Missouri and Illinois.

Depending on the nature of the emergency, you will need to decide if it is safest for you to stay or go. Know your area and what types of disasters are most likely to occur – this will make preparing for this decision easier.

Know your community. All schools, day cares and business do or should have an emergency plan. Knowing this plan and incorporating this plan into your family plan will make for a more organized plan. You wouldn’t want your family plan to conflict with the school’s plan – that would greatly confuse your children. Get on the same page!

For more assistance in organizing a family emergency plan use this tool created by the Ready Campaign and the Ad Council. You can never be too prepared…and September is a perfect month to do it!

Theresa Finnigin is a professional organizer, speaker, writer and owner of Ready Aim Organize. Theresa is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and NAPO St. Louis Chapter. The mission of Ready Aim Organize is to rid homes and offices of clutter and chaos to ensure time is not wasted and each day is more productive and peaceful than the one before! Sign up now to receive the FREE Ready Aim Organize e-newsletter.

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