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National Preparedness Month

September 19, 2007

ready September is National Preparedness Month, and those of us in the field have been bombarded by all of our listservs letting us know about the festivities.  Well, I’m going to add to the electronic cacophony, but make you feel bad at the same time – sounds like fun, no?

So, how prepared are you?  No, really.  If somebody blew up that big building/public utility/gathering place/historical icon in your town, would your family be alright for 24 hours plus?  What if you were already at home, and had to leave them in a panic and get into work?  What if you’re neither at work or home and had to travel on foot to your office?  Could you?  Could you really?  Without worrying/hoping that someone’s checking in on your family?  Satisfied?  Great, now take away electricity.  Get rid of public transportation.  Tie the police/National Guard/security folks up securing multiple and growing scenes.  Spread rumors of terrible death and pestilence sweeping the city – you get the idea.

The point I’m trying to make is – none of us is prepared.  None of us can be.  But we can take the same care with our personal and family planning that we do with our planning on the job and not worry so much.  It seems so trite to actually read those pamphlets that we hand out, to make sure that the batteries in the flashlights are still good, to keep a pair of sneakers at the office – I mean, c’mon.  The truth of the matter, though, is that if you can’t show up to work because your family is unprepared, or something else, you are useless in a response capacity.  You cannot effectively respond if your thoughts – or you – are elsewhere.

Seriously, take a look at this list from the Federation of American Scientists.  Do you have a kit?  At home?  In your car?  At work?  Do you have a plan?  For getting into work?  For assuring your family that you’re okay?  For your family’s safety?  Our needs are different than most of the public’s as we need to head to the scene, not run away.  Our plans and kits should reflect that reality.

Too often we are so worried about saving the world that we forget that if we, or our families, are unprepared, then we can do no good.  We become the people who need to be saved, protected.

Please, for everyone’s sake, review your personal preparedness efforts this month.  Preparedness is for all of us – if we have to save ourselves and everyone else, too, doesn’t that mean we should be extra ready?

Image courtesy: ReadyPhiladelphia.org

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