Everyone is talking about Global Warming. Whether you believe in it or not, what’s going on with the weather all over the world has been crazy. That’s a fact! Warmer than usual temperatures everywhere. Droughts in some areas. More flooding than ever before in others. Melting Icebergs causing water levels to rise. Yikes!

A Natural Disaster or other emergency situation can happen anywhere, at any time. If and when it does, are you ready?

Watching the news and seeing images of people who lost everything, their houses, cars, clothing, family heirlooms and photographs, in the aftermath of a natural disaster or other type of emergency, has always made me think about how they were going to put their lives back together.

While we can’t prevent or stop these events from happening, we can be prepared so that we can mitigate the damages.

September is National Preparedness Month. Sponsored by FEMA, National Preparedness Month aims to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.

Natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and/or fires, can have disastrous and far-reaching effects on our lives. Especially if we are not prepared! National Preparedness Month is a great reminder that it’s time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies.

We all know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly and can result power outages that impact communities for days at a time. As commendable as they may be in their profession for assisting those in need, police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly in an emergency or disaster. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care for at least a short period of time following an incident. The better you are prepared, the quicker you will recover.

The following information will hopefully motivate you to do something, anything, towards getting you and your loved ones prepared, just in case…:

1. Be informed:
a. Get practical tips on preparing for disaster at ready.gov or fema.gov.
i. There you can find countless articles and detailed information on what may be most important to you and your family. You can also find information tailored to specific needs such as people with disabilities, seniors, assisting children, business readiness and even information for your pets.

2. Be connected:
a. Bookmark weather.gov to stay informed on severe weather.
b. Learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts – messages that will be sent to your phone during an emergency.

3. Be Prepared:
a. Make sure that you and your family are prepared for an emergency. Ensure that you can go for at least three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or other local services.
b. Get a solar charger or generator in case there is an electricity shortage.

4. Create an Emergency Plan:
a. Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it is important to plan in advance.
i. Figure out BEFORE an emergency arises, how you will contact one another. If you can’t communicate for whatever reason, agree on a meeting place that everyone knows.

5. Be Proactive:
a. Make sure to have an emergency kit that includes water, flashlights, batteries, necessary medication, a first aid kit and non-perishable food (to name just a few items to have on hand).
i. Have an emergency kit in your car just in case you’re not home when a disaster strikes. If you’re at home you’ll still have access to your car so keeping one in the car is always a good idea.
ii. Make sure the supplies are kept up to date. Medical supplies do expire and old food/water isn’t going to make things any easier when you need them for survival.

6. Keep it together:
a. Make sure that you have all of your important documents together in one place so that you can recover your losses quickly (ie, insurance policies, photos of valuables, emergency contact list)
i. I keep mine in a 3 ring binder that is easily accessible. If you want some detailed information about which documents to put together and how, sign up for my newsletters (if you haven’t already) and get a FREE Emergency File Checklist. (Go to: www.organizingconceptsanddesigns.com)

7. Stay Safe:
a. If your home has been damaged and is no longer safe, go to a designated public shelter. To find the nearest shelter in your area, text “SHELTER + your ZIP code” to 43362 (4FEMA). Make sure you know:
i. Where the gas shut off valve is.
ii. How to turn of the main water supply.
iii. Not to light candles (you’d be surprised and how many people don’t know that!).