It is that time of year again, a time to reflect on another year gone by and prepare for the new year to come. It is time to dust off last year’s resolutions and come up with a new list of things to accomplish in 2015. While researching the latest diet trend and signing up for the newest exercise class or in between swearing off your guilty pleasures, vowing to set your alarm earlier, and promising to be better at staying in touch, do yourself a favor and add these five simple preparedness resolutions to your list.
1. Make or update your emergency kit.
If you don’t have an emergency preparedness kit in your house and car, it’s time to get one. Gather water, food, flashlights, batteries, and a first aid kit into a container or bag and store it in an easy-to-access area of your house or car.
If you already have an emergency kit, take time to review what is in it. Does your extra pair of clothes still fit? Do the flashlights need new batteries? Are all your important documents up to date? Having an emergency kit in your home or car will not be of use during an emergency if your kit is out of date or missing adequate supplies.
For more information on what to include in your emergency kit, visit CDC’s webpage: http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/kit/disasters/.
2. Form a support network (talk to your neighbors).
New Year’s Eve parties are a great time to catch up with friends and family. Why not use this time surrounded by those you love to talk about preparing for an emergency? Talk to your neighbors about forming a support network and make a plan to check on each other after a disaster occurs. Talk to people close to you about any physical limitations or special medical needs you may have during an emergency. During an emergency it is usually the people in closest proximity that are first to offer aid, and while it may not be the typical topic of conversation at your New Year’s Eve bash, it is an important discussion to have.
3. Prepare your family (older adults, kids and pets).
When making all your plans to prepare, don’t forget your family. Talk to older adults in your life about their emergency preparedness plans, and ask them how you can help. Make sure your kids are involved in your emergency preparedness planning. Help them understand and be part of natural disaster planning with CDC’s Ready Wrigley. Also, don’t forget your pets. Include food and water for your furry friends in your emergency kit, and identify pet friendly evacuation shelters in your area.
4. Join an alert network (app, weather radio, email updates).
It’s 2015 and even though we may not have flying cars or time machines, we do have some great technology for tracking and alerting us to natural disasters that may be in our area. Rather than downloading the latest video game or dating app, make sure your phone and computer have alert systems set up to notify you when dangerous weather is in your area. Consider setting up push notifications or email alerts that let you know when a natural disaster may be coming.
5. Weatherize your home and review your insurance.
The New Year is a perfect time to review your insurance plan and evaluate your home. Install or check smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide alarms in your house. Make sure you know where the utility off and on switches are located. During leaks or when evacuating your home, knowing how to turn off your gas, water, and electricity could help prevent damage to your home and protect your health. Also, check your insurance policy and make sure you are covered for possible flooding or structural damage to your home and property.
Taking time to prepare for emergencies and natural disasters now could be the most important thing you do this year.