Natural disasters can happen anywhere and at any time of the day or year. As we leave home we should always prepare for the possibility that mother nature may choose to interrupt our trip. There are a few very inexpensive things you can do to remain safe.
1. Always leave a complete itinerary with your out of area contact, then should there be a disaster they will know where to begin searching or they will be able to tell other concerned family members that you were not on that leg of your journey.
2. Always carry an emergency card with you. List a contact, doctor’s number, your complete name, and allergies you may have and any medications you are taking,with the dosage.
3. If you are not flying take a glow stick or two with you. If the power should fail during the night and you are in hotel you may become very confused as to how to exit. A glow stick will help to light the way. They are also perfect for signaling to rescuers if you are unable to use the hallway to escape because of fire or because it is blocked. A flashlight will work also but I like glow sticks better because the light is larger and easier to see than what a flashlight puts out. Remember a moving light will attract more attention so if you are signaling move your glow stick back and forth.
4. Pack food. Include a few high calorie energy bars in you suitcase whenever you travel. As we have seen in Haiti food was in short supply. These should be the bars that are rated for long term storage, not your grocery store granola bar. They won’t provide the calories you need during a time of stress and you will feel hunger again in a very short time.
5. When you go to bed keep a full bottle of water next to your bed where it is easy to grab as you exit. If you should be caught in an earthquake hold on to the water and if you should be trapped it will provide you with much needed hydration for a short time, improving your strength.
6. Sleep with a pair of shoes, not slippers or sandals next to your bed. If possible slide them slightly under the bed so debris won’t be caught by them. In most hotels this is impossible but at home …They will protect your feet as you escape. Even if the disaster is “only” a power outage you will not want to be looking for shoes and you definitely will not want to leave your room without them.
We spend so much time in our lives thinking about the trivial. How many hours have you spent planning a Super bowl party, or child’s birthday party, or Christmas dinner. You worry about who will be seated next grandma, what can I serve if Sally comes because she is allergic to everything, what do I do if John’s boss brings wine when we don’t drink? We make lists, shop and then shop again, rearrange the furniture to make room, and on and on. Why then is it so hard for us to think about, and plan for, an emergency that could greatly alter our lives or even cost us our life? Now is the time. Together we can do this and when the Big One comes we will be the resource others turn to for information and advice. We will be the ones who gets to smile and think, not say, I told you so!