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Extension Cord: Disaster gives little warning, so prepare

September: the unofficial end of summer. September: school starts up for another year. September: National Preparedness month. September: a month to prepare for and adjust to changes. If there is one thing in life we can count on — it is change. Preparing for life’s unexpected challenges helps us adjust to what is happening around us.

Preparedness is the key to surviving change. We prepare our children for the end of summer and beginning another school year by researching and purchasing the appropriate school supplies, getting them up earlier in the morning and sending them to bed earlier at night, and mentally preparing them by discussing the upcoming school year and the opportunities that await them.

This same mentality of vigilance should extend to preparing for any unexpected changes that may come our way. Unexpected change can affect virtually any aspect of our life including finances, health, living arrangements and family dynamics. This change can come in the form of a personal disaster such as a fire, the loss of a job, an accident or as a disaster that affects several families, the community or the region.

How can we prepare for unexpected changes? The same way we plan and prepare for the end of summer: Plan ahead, prepare our minds and collect necessary items.

Plan ahead. Purchase appropriate insurance such as homeowner or renter, fire, flood, earthquake disability and life insurances. Know the risks and danger signs of potential disasters (such as frayed electrical cords, severe weather, rising water, slipping hillsides, etc.). Develop a plan for what you would do if there was a fire in the home or on your land, if an earthquake occurred or if you lost your job, if … Think through the “ifs” and develop a plan of action. This may seem overwhelming, but it is so important. Preparing for unexpected changes does more than just ensure you have enough money, food and supplies on hand and a plan for communicating and meeting your family members, it also prepares your mind.

Preparing the mind for change helps ensure mental well-being after an event. Preparing in advance of an incident can reduce the affects of the trauma caused by the change. You can protect yourself and your family members by becoming resilient.

To become resilient, work on preventative measures such as creating personal and family emergency plans, practice on-going self care and stress management techniques, and become involved in community emergency preparedness at the local level.

Collect necessary items. Assemble a disaster supply kit. There are several resources available to help you determine what items need to be included in a disaster supply kit. Basically, think about what you would need to survive for several days without the support of community organizations, agencies or businesses (such as the fire department, law enforcement, medical care and stores). What would you need to survive in the wilderness for several days? That is what would go into a survival kit.

To learn more about preparedness plan to attend the annual Preparedness and Safety Fair scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28, in conjunction with the Health and Safety Fair at Water’s Edge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Several community and government organizations will be on hand to share information, give away products and promote preparedness.

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