How to Practice Emergency Preparedness as Personal Care

The preparation is personal, and it exists over a broad spectrum. For some people, it’s tied to a season: hurricane season in the south or wildfire season in the west. In some communities, people go up to windows a few days before a storm hits the ground while others ignore evacuation warnings, thinking they can just sit in the laundry room with a box of donuts, a flashlight and a good book.

Fortunately, there is a happy medium.

“It is an investment in itself to be prepared”, says Katie Belfi, who was a lawyer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during Hurricane Sandy. After Sandy, NYU Langone recruited Belfi to rebuild the hospital’s emergency preparedness and response program. But her interest in emergency planning began years earlier, when a 3-year-old girl harassed her mother to buy emergency ladders for family rooms.

“Preparation has always been transmitted through a fear filter,” says Belfi. “And it takes on a tone of” You have to do this or the other “” One of its purposes is to get people to see resilience through a mindful lens, by changing the narrative of something you Must do to something that you Can do.

Instead of talking about emergency preparedness in terms of number From MRE meals, crates of bottled water or solar panels, Belfi frames emergency preparedness in the context of things like gratitude and rest, things we already associate with self-care. “We have morning routines, exercise routines, and skin care routines,” said Danielle Roberts, an emergency physician in Norwalk, Connecticut. “Why shouldn’t we have a prep routine? “

Roberts is the medical director of The preparation collective, which twins Jesse Levin and Sefra Alexandra founded out of concern for a society that remains reactionary, unprepared and vulnerable due to a disjointed relationship with preparation. “When we work to acquire the skills and mindset that make us ‘ready’, the fear, sense of vulnerability and division usually felt in an emergency is replaced by calm and eagerness, ability and desire to help others, ”says Levin. It’s hard to know where to start with personal preparation, but the best time to do it is now.

Where do we start?

After a person has gone through something traumatic, be it a wildfire or a global pandemic, they are in the best possible place to look at things objectively when the experience is fresh in. her head. It’s overwhelming, and so many people want to throw their masks aside, forget about the Texas electricity crisis, and ignore the forecast of hurricanes and wildfires. Despite strong impulses to put the past aside and move on, Belfi says, “This is the most important time to sit down – whether with yourself, your family or with a larger group. from your community – and think about what has worked and what From that information, you will have an amazing plan to build your plan. “

After considering what has worked well and where your household needs improvement, you can refill, restock, replace, and repair supplies and tools. The next step is a bit tricky as this is where you dig deeper, hone some skills, and polish your plan.

Belfi offers a guide on their website to get you started, as well as Bringing Resilience Home, a free printable ebook which lists the essential questions to ask yourself when writing your preparedness plan. Knowing how much food and water your family needs is essential. A freezer full of meat isn’t the best source of stable food, but it is something. 20-pound bags of rice, beans, and lentils are best. The worst part is relying on take out, as many people learned this the hard way when everything was closed at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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