As most everyone knows by now, September is National Preparedness Month. Now ordinarily any time the government tries to push an agenda I am skeptical at best, but this is one action I can certainly get behind.  In fact I go out of my to promote the government program despite any other reservations I have toward them in general.

The materials they (gov’t agencies) produce are extremely generalized and basic, but I actually believe this to be a good approach to preparedness for the masses. Why?  Because I believe preparedness is one of those things where something IS better than nothing in every circumstance and this is a good way to bring people’s attention to it without scaring the bejeezus out of ‘em.   What the government is asking of its citizenry is not much; put aside some extra food and water to get you and your family through a few days’ disruption, make a plan for communications with your family or group, and make sure you have any special needs, such as maintenance medications or pets, accounted for.  These are all really simple, inexpensive steps we can all take without disrupting our lives or taking on a new “lifestyle”.   In my opinion, this is a great move and I support it 100%.  Imagine how much better ANY city or town could get through a crisis – whether it’s a hurricane or tornado or ice-storm or earthquake or whatever the disaster du jour is – if everyone in that town had a few days’ worth of food on hand, and their basic necessities taken care of.  When it comes to emergencies, if you aren’t in a position to take care of yourself you are a liability.  Why anyone would consciously choose to become a liability, essentially putting their lives in someone else’s hands, is beyond me.

This year they are actually going a step further, encouraging people to get to know their neighbors and participate in Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) training or other community based projects. Again, I must agree with the government on this as much as it pains me.  I went through my local C.E.R.T. training program about 5 years ago and from my perspective it was invaluable.  I went in thinking I had a really good handle on “all things preparedness” only to find that I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did.  On top of that, getting to know not only your neighbors but your local first responders in this setting was an exceptional opportunity.  I referred numerous people to that same course I had completed and every single one of them expressed they’d had a very positive experience with it.  I HIGHLY recommend you find your closest C.E.R.T. unit and attend their training.  If your area doesn’t have one, contact your local fire or police department and inquire about starting one.

And for those of you that maybe came into the preparedness fold some time ago and have your basics covered, take time this month to re-check and organize your preps. Rotate foods that are near expiration, make sure your insurance, medical, and legal documents (such as ID’s, passports, licenses, etc.) are up to date and in order.  Hold a family fire drill or shut your power down for a day to take a test run of your back-up plans.  No matter how much you’ve done already, there is nearly always some room for improvement.  And if there really is NOTHING else you can do to get yourself prepared (highly unlikely, but possible I suppose) then reach out to your community and see what you can do to help get others on board.

In life I really do take a “grey man” approach to just about everything, but when it comes to preparedness I feel an evangelical* approach is what we need to take.  I’m not saying to tell everyone what you have in any kind of detail, but just to start the conversation.  Hollywood nonsense like Doomsday Preppers and some of the whack-a-doos on YouTube have really helped to give preparedness a bad name, to where the “average” citizen thinks it’s crazy.  But after seeing the pictures of people waiting in lines that are city blocks long just to get something as basic as water, common sense will tell you that it’s crazy NOT to take care of the basics at the very least.

Take care of yourselves out there!

Thanks for reading,

~J

 

* evangelical

Adjective

marked by ardent or zealous enthusiasm for a cause.

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National Preparedness Month!

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