OK — Here is something we don't talk about very often, but your health could depend on it: Preparedness.
Winter weather and its' unknowns is coming as well as recent hurricanes in the news have caught some off guard or simply not ready. This article is not to make you feel bad about not having a 6 month's stock of food and water...
But... I do want you to think about being prepared and what that means for your family. All families are different and deal with unique circumstances. We prepare for many things in our lives — vacations, moving, your students prepare for exams and sports contests.
Do you have a family member with a health condition or severe allergy? Do you have the names or prescription numbers of their medications? Your medications? Do you keep all of the medications in a central place that could be easily transported if necessary? Do you have a pet? How would you provide for your pet in an emergency? Would someone know that your pet even belonged to you? Do you have a central meeting place for your family that everyone is aware of if you cannot go into your home or must evacuate your home? Do your children know your phone numbers by heart — not relying on hitting a button on their phone — in case there is no cell service (many high school students tell me they do not know their home phone or parent's cell numbers without looking at their phones). Do they know that sometimes a text will go through when a call will not? Do they know the name of parents employers? Does everyone know where the nearest hospital is and their doctor's name? Is there an alternative way to charge cell phones if there is no electricity? What will you eat? Do you have bottled water? What if car travel is not an option — can you get home? What if you can't leave work? Do you have some cash? Is there always at least a half tank of gas in the car? Do you have emergency arrangements for your children? Does the family have an out of town contact that everyone can call if you are separated in a disaster? Whew!
I know that was exhausting but there is good news. There are many forms and information on the internet to help you determine what your needs are and help you make a plan for your family BEFORE an emergency happens.
Enjoy all that the beginning of a new school year and fall bring with your family — your time together is very precious.
Jayne Dwyer-Reff, RN