Emergency Preparedness is Not All About Canned Food

Bruce Emmerling
Prepare ahead an emergency.

Emergency! That is a word that none of us ever want to hear, let alone experience. One thing you can count on with an emergency is that it is always a surprise. We may not be prepared for the surprise, but we can be prepared for the emergency. Being prepared for something, greatly affects the impact on us. The challenges can be  physical, mental, emotional, and financial.

Emergencies can come in several unexpected packages: a health crisis, a natural disaster, an accident, or a home-based disaster such as a fire. Regardless of their cause, we need to react. Reacting from a position of strength and faith, rather than one of fear, will help us recover and regroup. How do we prepare? Do you have the philosophy, if you  prepare you won’t need to be? I do. This is the reason I take a bunch of different kinds of medicines with us on a trip. I prepare for colds, headaches, upset stomachs, allergies, and cuts and scrapes. If I prepare and I have what I need, I won’t need it. Apply the same philosophy to preparing for emergencies and you will be ready.

What Defines an Emergency?

Merriam-Webster defines emergency as a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. Emergencies enter our lives in a variety of ways. A sudden health crisis that results in a trip to the hospital or unable to care for ourselves in our own homes definitely qualifies as an emergency. It is one that can affect all areas of our lives.

What steps, besides doing what we can to stay well, can we take to lessen the effects of the crisis on our lives? The answer: Organization


Organize Before Emergencies Strike

In Papers, Papers, and More Papers, we began to look at what documents we need to keep. Organization on a good day is important, but on a really bad one, it can mean the difference between crisis and full-out disaster.

Preparing for an unexpected trip to the hospital requires some extra organization. We can make the process easier for ourselves and for our loved ones. How do we do just that?

What Needs to be Done Before the Crisis Strikes?

Answer these 3 questions:

1.) What responsibilities do I have in the course of a typical day/week/month?

2.) What would someone else need to know to do these things?

3.) Who do I want to know this information?

Question #1: Daily/Weekly/Monthly Tasks

When you sit down to think about this task, focus on what you do that still needs to be done even if you are not at home.


Do you:

  • make meals for others in your home or your pets?
  • walk your pets?
  • take care of others on a daily basis?
  • water your plants?

This daily list is basically the tasks you would need to think of if you were going on vacation for a few days. If you think about it that way, you may capture many tasks that you might otherwise miss.

  • The mail and the paper need to be retrieved.
  • Think through your day and start making a list.


Next, focus on tasks, like bills to be paid. What are the main weekly/monthly tasks that still need to be attended to if you are out of the house for a while? Do you have a master list? Now is the time to make one.


Question #2: What would someone else need to know to do these things?

The answers to this question might seem too intrusive or invasive. Anytime money is the topic, uneasiness shows up. Having someone carry out your normal tasks may require:

  • the location of your house and/or car keys
  • a list of names and phone numbers for important contacts
  • a calendar of appointments and bill paying schedule
  • locations of bills, checkbook, or other items needed to take care of related tasks. Of course, only those on the checking account are allowed to sign checks.

Question #3: Who do I want to know this information?

The answer to this quesiton may be more than one person. Dividing these repsonsibilities is always possible and sometimes necessary.

Choices of whom to share this information with:

  • Sibling
  • Child
  • Neighbor

Perhaps the most important consideration is to pick a person you trust.


Final Thoughts

Emergencies happen. Being prepared for an emergency that prevents you from taking care of your repsonsbilities will help to reduce your stress while away from home and when you return home.









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2 thoughts on “Emergency Preparedness is Not All About Canned Food”

  1. This is a great article! May I add a few more important items in case of a health emergency? A list of medications and allergies to medications where EMS can easily find it (either in your wallet or on the counter next to your medications.) If you have a list of medical issues, such as diabetes or a cardiac history, that too will help EMS help you. Finally, if you have a current Advanced Directive, that should be placed somewhere visible (like on the side of your refrigerator or near your medications.) EMS won’t go rifling through your drawers to find it, so it needs to be somewhere we can see.

    No one looks forward to an emergency, but I think your advance organization suggestions will really give someone peace of mind when they’re prepared before something happens.

    1. Great points! I am working on putting together another article about these very things. I think you beat me to it. Thanks for the great additons.

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