• 8 Tips for Writing an Emergency Action Plan

    Guest post by Kevin Nelson


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    People react to emergency situations differently: some are able to put themselves together and act quickly, while some start panicking and lose the ability to think clearly. If you are one of the latter, you'd probably want to prevent this from happening. And if you are one of the former, you’d probably still wouldn’t want such a situation to catch you by surprise.

    That’s why it’s so important to create a certain emergency action plan for most of the unexpected situations you might face. While it’s impossible to predict all the things that could happen to you, your business, your close ones, etc., it’s still good to develop a certain strategy you can implement in a critical situation. Moreover, you can adapt this strategy to similar situations that might happen, therefore, minimizing the damage they might cause.

    But how to develop a proper emergency action plan? It is as challenging as coming up with good cause and effect essay topics or looking for reliable essay writing services – however, it’s still possible. So here’s what you need to remember.


    1. Come up with a list of emergency contacts

    It isn’t always possible to remember a certain number or to contact a certain person quickly when an emergency strikes. That’s why you should develop a list of phone numbers you might need to dial and add them to your phone’s address book. This could be numbers of a police service, your family or some of your friends, your insurance company, etc.


    1. Ensure the possibility of communication

    If you already have a list of emergency contacts, you need to ensure that you’ll be able to reach them. Have a mobile charger or a power bank with you in case your battery dies. Make sure that your friends, family members, or business partners will pick up if you call them – and if some of them become unavailable for a certain period of time (for example, when going to another country on vacation), replace their number with someone else’s for this period.


    1. Keep all the options in mind

    Let’s imagine you’ve punctured the tire on a trip somewhere. You probably have a spare tire in your trunk, but do you have a flashlight in case such an emergency happens at night? Do you have a winter tire if it’s winter or do you still keep a summer tire in your trunk?

    Sometimes, even the smallest details matter a lot, so you have to keep all the options in mind: season, time, weather, etc. The more you can think of, the better. For example, the statistics published in 2016 show that injured patients need to wait 24 minutes on average before seeing a doctor – so maybe you should include it in your emergency strategy as well if it’s injury-related.


    1. Create an emergency kit

    When we go on a camping trip, we usually take a medical kit with us. When we drive somewhere, we take the license and the car documents with us. The same should happen when we’re preparing for an emergency.

    The emergency kits can differ a lot, depending on the emergency you might face. A spare tire and all the tools to change it. A medical kit and your documents. Food supplies. And much more. Think what you would need to deal with a certain emergency and try to create a kit for that.


    1. Write down a strategy.

    Now when you have all the data you need, you can develop a certain strategy and write it down. Add basic directives, assign some roles (if your plan includes other people), and so on. You can be detailed or just write down the basics – either way, you’ll be able to polish it later.


    1. Rehearse the strategy.

    Of course, not all strategies are possible to rehearse, but you should still try and do this in the best way possible. Maybe you’ll find out that it takes more time for you to get from point A to point B than you thought it would. Maybe you’ll see that your strategy requires more resources. Maybe you’ll realize that it’s perfect as it is.

    If your strategy includes other people, be sure to send it to them after you rehearse it and make all the necessary corrections.


    1. Keep your strategy up to date.

    Things change. People quit their jobs, nearest stores close, friends leave on vacations, etc. While not every little detail can ruin your plan completely, you still need to pay attention to them and make changes to your strategy when possible. If a change is crucial, do it immediately. If a change is less significant, you can wait and update your strategy later, when something else happens.


    1. Review the strategy.

    Even if nothing seems to change, it’s still important to review your strategy from time to time. This way you’ll ensure that you’re always ready in case an emergency happens.


    We wish you good luck with crafting the best and the most detailed emergency action plan!


    my photoKevin is a professional educator and a private tutor with over 8 years of experience. He is also a content writer for various blogs about higher education, entertainment, social media & blogging.  During his off time, Kevin enjoys traveling and cooking. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter, Linkedin & Google+.



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  • How to Always Have the Documents You Need After a Disaster

    Wildfire via ABC News Documents California wildfire via ABC News

    Imagine you have only a few minutes to escape from a wildfire. You run out with nothing but your pajamas and maybe your wallet and keys, like these people just had to do. Or, imagine you put your feet over the side of your bed and realize the water is ankle-deep and rising. You grab what you can and climb out a window to the roof, like so many did during the recent hurricanes. Now, imagine you come back to your home. It’s charred rubbish. Or, it’s mildew-infested and waterlogged. You want to get federal assistance. After getting power and finding a working computer and detouring past "404 File Not Found" errors, you find Here’s what you still need, according to the Disaster Survivor Information Checklist:

    1. Social Security Numbers. Or, if you don’t know them, and are willing to wait 10-14 days, you can always request a replacement card here. If you need new ones, hope you managed to make it out with other identifying information.
    2. All your insurance information: auto, flood if you’ve got it (and you should), or homeowner.
    3. Information about all the damage the disaster caused.
    4. Total annual household income before taxes.
    5. Address and phone number of the property where the damage occurred and current address and phone number.
    6. If you want direct deposit – which you really should, since mail service might not return for a while – you’ll “just” (as the site puts it) need your bank name, type of account, routing number and account number. J


    And that’s just to apply for assistance. Let’s say you’re still evacuated, but your medication went up in smoke in the disaster. You need immediate replacements, and you’ve got, say, Medicare. Hope you’ve got your Medicare card, with the plan number, or you might not even be able to get accurate information about costs or pharmacies that accept your plan. Oh, you don’t? Well, back to the Social Security Administration.

    My husband’s mother, who lives in Puerto Rico, is extremely fortunate. Her house only saw minor flooding during Hurricane Maria. Yet three weeks later, she’s still without power and water, and she’s almost out of food. She’s coming to live with my family in Virginia for a while. Guess what she’s been working on for the past few weeks, and what I’ve been trying to work on from here?

    After this experience, I can’t say this enough: back up important documents. I’ve spent hours on the computer and texting back and forth with my husband’s brother, who is also in Puerto Rico and is still without phone service, trying to get necessary information just so I could look up other information. And remember, her important documents weren’t destroyed.

    So back up everything. Get a safe. Get an account in cloud storage or get a hard drive that you can grab and go. Protect it with every encryption and password you can think of, but make sure you can access it. Then scan and store everything. You can use your phone as a scanner with apps like Tiny Scanner, available free for apple and android phones.

    Scan everything you need to get federal and insurance help, seen above, plus copies of any other important paperwork like lease agreements, proof of address or home ownership and stock and bond certificates. Take photos of all your possessions, including serial numbers, so you can prove damage if necessary. Back up your photos and scan old ones so you don’t lose them. Sync your contacts list across devices.

    Do it as soon as possible. Keep it updated. Don’t wait until the water’s rising or the earthquake hits or the fire is a mile away. Block out a few minutes a week. It’s worth it.


    Melissa Rivera is a jack-of-all-trades who is master of none. She has been a writer and editor for more than 15 years.


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  • Mississippi Wildfires and Why We Must Be Aware of Local Disaster Threats

    Forest Fire Mississippi PostWhen I think of wildfires, I generally think of them happening in California, Washington, Alaska, or Australia. Certain states just never have to worry about such things, right? Wrong. Just before Valentine’s Day 2016, a wildfire raged in Mississippi and into Alabama, burning more than 4,000 acres.

    Mississippi is a fairly humid place, which might lead a person to believe that wildfires can’t happen there. After all, water beats fire, and if the trees and grass and other plant life aren’t being drained of their moisture in dry, desert-like heat, then what’s the worry?

    As we can see, there’s always a worry. Actually, wildfires aren’t that rare an occurrence in Mississippi, or other humid states, for that matter. The average number of wildfires in that state annually is close to 4,000, and an average of 110,000 acres are burned each year.

    But why is this important? For me, just because I don’t think something happens, doesn’t mean it doesn’t, or is even infrequent. In the case of Mississippi, for example, wildfires aren’t rare at all. So why don’t I hear much about them? Maybe it’s because they’re not as devastating as other states’ fires. Maybe it’s because I don’t live near that area, so the news just doesn’t get to me. Or maybe it’s because they are so common that it just really isn’t news anymore. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that these things do happen, whether I think about them or not.

    So what else goes on that I don’t know about that I should be aware of? More specifically, what should I be aware of here in Utah? I know wildfires can be a problem, and drought is always a lingering threat (not as bad as California, but we still get it here).

    In a traditionally dry location, we probably don’t think about flooding very often, but you know what? It happens! Actually, because it’s so dry, flash flooding is more than likely during a good downpour. Living pretty close to the mountains can also bring water down fast, and could even trigger landslides.

    Saltlaketornado - Mississippi Wildfire Post A tornado rips through downtown Salt Lake City in 1999

    Tornadoes, though, are something we just don’t get. Our elevation and climate or something just deters those whirling winds. Except…not quite two decades ago a tornado tore through Salt Lake City. But according to science, that should never have happened, right? Apparently not. This is just one more example of things happening that we really didn’t think could. I bet those people that were affected by the tornado won’t forget that anytime soon…

    Of course, there are so many things that could happen here at any given time. But I didn’t know that the Mississippi wildfires were a thing, so perhaps there’s more to my location than I’ve stopped to think about.

    Being prepared for a disaster involves knowing what to be prepared for. If you are aware that wildfires are a danger in your neck of the woods, you probably have an emergency kit or bug-out bag handy, just in case you need to get out quickly. If you live in a drought-stricken area, you probably have alternate options for water that don’t involve rain. No matter your location, there are certain disasters that are more prevalent than others, and being prepared for those can keep you and your family one step ahead of the game.

    My challenge to you is to do some research about the potential threats in your area, make a list of how you need to prepare for these threats, and then go do it.

    Get prepared.

    You can never predict when a disaster will strike, or how hard you’ll be hit.


    Research the threats in your area and let us know if there were any new threats you learned about!


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