Preparedness Month a good time to make emergency plan

When I was talking recently about September being National Preparedness Month, someone said, “Doesn’t stocking up on things mean that you are scared that the world is coming to an end?”

After I promised that I wasn’t someone who liked to bury food in my backyard, I explained what preparedness is really all about.

We like to take the month of September to remind everyone to stop before the busy fall and winter seasons and make sure they have preparedness plans in place for their family and even their businesses.

You want to make sure your family is prepared for a disaster just like you would have them get ready to go back to school or plan for a trip out of town. There is nothing scary about that.

It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. The recent power outage in Durango, even though it was limited in location and short in duration, should make you realize that we are so dependent on being able to flip a light switch and the lights coming on and the electricity always being there.

The American Red Cross has many resources online or from the local chapter that will allow you to make your family emergency plan as painless as possible. There are three simple steps that you can take today before your favorite football team takes the field: Get a kit, make a plan and be informed.

Getting a kit is a process that you go through as a family that is specialized to your needs and preferences in food. I have always preferred to make my own kit as opposed to buying one that may be filled with things I never would eat, such as lima beans. Make sure your foods can be served without being cooked and that you have enough for each family member for three days.

Make sure you plan for your pets. You can access great information about what else you need to have in a preparedness kit at www.arcbrcr.org.

Don’t stop with just making sure you are prepared at home; go one step further and make sure you are prepared at your workplace and that there is a plan for your children at school. Businesses and schools can access free preparedness plans through the Red Cross Ready Rating program at www.readyrating.org.

The Red Cross also can come to your business and discuss an emergency operations plan.

Preparedness doesn’t mean you wear a tinfoil hat or have 4,000 rolls of toilet paper in your basement. It means that you care enough for yourself, your family and your community to plan ahead for any disaster that might occur in our community.

Cindi Shank is executive director of the Southwest Colorado chapter of the American Red Cross.