When I was in college, every Valentine’s Day I wore a button: “Flowers wilt. Candy melts. Send money.”
Since then, I’ve realized that money goes away even faster than flowers or candy (actually, the rate at which my money vanishes is proof of both black holes and the existence of faster-than-light travel).
So what’s a Valentine’s Day gift with staying power? How about a gift that shows your concern for your loved one’s well-being: the gift of emergency preparedness.
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio or a NOAA Weather Radio
- A flashlight with extra batteries.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Fire extinguisher or fire escape ladder.
- Enrollment in a CPR or first aid class. The American Heart Association offers several courses, including a free hands-only CPR online course.
- Books, coloring books, crayons, and board games, so kids will have something to do.
- Personal hygiene comfort kit, including shampoo, body wash, wash cloth, hairbrush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant.
- An emergency kit, like a waterproof pouch or backpack, that contains such things as a rain poncho, moist towelettes, work gloves, batteries, duct tape, whistle and food bars, as well as any of the above items.
Also, when you’re having your lovey-dovey conversations, consider what readycolorado.com calls the one of the most important: developing an emergency plan for your family.
First, develop a family communication plan. Ready.gov has templates for communication plans. They tell ways to communicate during a disaster, including family, physician and school phone numbers and out-of-town emergency contacts. Each family member should carry a copy.
Second, identify types of disasters your household might experience, and plan emergency meeting places for each type, including by your home, in your neighborhood, outside your neighborhood and outside your area.
Third, schedule times to practice what you’ve discussed.
“A gift to help prepare for emergencies could be life-saving for friends and family,” said FEMA Region V acting regional administrator Janet Odeshoo in a release. “These gift ideas provide a great starting point for being prepared for an emergency or disaster.”
So while flowers are nice and all (until they wither and die), perhaps a better way to say "I love you" is to show them how much their life really does mean to you by helping them prepare for emergencies. After all, flowers wilt, candy melts, but emergency preparedness is a meaningful, practical gift that will last much longer.