The New Year brings with it renewed hopes for the future as we look ahead and make plans. It’s also a great time to reflect on where we are in achieving goals we have set for ourselves and for our families.
The New Year is also a great time to do the same for your family’s emergency plan. Everyone has an emergency plan even if they have never sat down and thought one through because no plan is a plan. Over the years of talking emergency preparations with people, I’ve encountered the entire spectrum of thought on the subject. Here are just a few examples:
1) Those who see “preppers” as extremist who spend all their time getting ready for the end of the world. They formed their opinions, in some cases, from watching or hearing about “Doomsday Preppers” with a bias towards, “those people are nuts”. Unfortunately, that bias usually comes with the thought that nothing too bad is going to happen where they live. That thought can lead to horrible outcomes.
2) Those who are preparing for an end of civilization or national collapse, which isn’t a bad thing to consider as preparing for worst cases can help you get through the likely crisis scenarios you may face, but unfortunately are often motivated by either fear or the ebbs and flows of the news cycles over careful planning for sustained sustainability.
a) Fear leads to irrational decisions causing people to over equip in some areas and ignore critical parts of an emergency plan. This leads to overspending in some areas wasting resources (money) that could be spent on things that just seem mundane, but in reality are critical to the day to day living in a crisis. Fear is also a killer in a crisis. While it can be a great motivator and we are hard wired with the flight or fight response, it cannot sustain you over a long period and making a plan based on fear over rational thought will likely lead your plan to fail especially when things don’t go according to plan which is almost a certainty in a crisis.
b) Basing plans on the news cycle which is usually driven by politics and how people perceive the state of the country. While it can be a good short term motivator, it again leads to severe gaps in planning for things that can and will happen no matter who sits in political office. There is a tendency to forget about emergency planning when people get more comfortable.
3) People who are preppers, but don’t know it. Interestingly, these people often fall into reference 1 above who think people who spend time preparing for emergencies are “nuts”. If you have a 401K or are putting money aside for things like unexpected car repairs or other unforeseen events, you are a prepper. Many times, it just takes a little knowledge of what can happen in their areas, a risk assessment, to get them to look a little closer at having things on hand to get through a long winter storm for example.
Of course, there are others who fall in areas in between or outside any of these examples. The truth is the most likely crisis’s you will encounter is just a disruption of your daily circumstances within your own family. It may be a job loss causing a temporary financial hardship for you or maybe your grown kids. It could be an illness that has the same effect. Just having extra food on hand to get through those times can be life saver. It maybe be a loved one who falls down the stairs, suffers a traumatic wound, say a large cut, or suffers a heart attack. In those situations, you are your own first responder. The decisions you make before help can arrive could save the life of someone you care about. Basic first aid training is a must for everyone in the family. Even the little ones can be trained to call 911 when appropriate or locate and bring an emergency medical kit to you when you have to stay with the injured party. Even if you sat down a few years ago and came up with the worlds best personal emergency plan, things change, some small things some big things, in our lives that can impact that original plan.
Take some time now to evaluate your emergency plans. Make one if it’s something that hasn’t seemed important before. Do a family risk assessment starting on those things that are most likely to occur. It should be an ongoing process or cycle of planning, practicing, evaluating, adjusting, and planning. For our family this year, we are going to increase, again, physical things we keep on hand.
What’s your emergency plan for 2019?