Be Prepared for Emergencies

submitted by Linda Baird

If asked, “Are you prepared for an emergency?” what would your answer be?  With all of the recent wildfires around the Austin area, I realized just how unprepared I was. So, it’s time to get my act together and GET PREPARED!  If you find yourself in the same boat, here are a few suggestions.

Create a “Grab and Go” box.

  • Place important papers in a fireproof and waterproof box or a waterproof backpack sealed in a waterproof plastic bag.
  • Place box/backpack in an easily accessible location.
  • If you must evacuate: Grab your box and take it with you. Keep the box with you at all times and do not leave it in your car unattended.

Items to include:

  • Cash or Traveler’s check in an amount that you can live on for several days.
  • Rolls of quarters.
  • A list of emergency phone numbers: Doctors, family, repair contractors, financial advisors, insurance company and clergy.
  • Copies of prescriptions to include medicines and eyeglasses.
  • List of numbers like social security, credit cards, bank accounts, loan, driver’s license and investment accounts.
  • Copies of medical records, dental records and insurance cards or numbers.
  • Copies of any legal documents like wills, deeds, titles, birth certificates, marriage certificates and any other important documents that you feel you should have a copy of.
  • List of debt obligations, due dates, and contact information.

As you can see there are a lot of things to include in your “Grab and Go” box, I’m sure you can think of other items as well.  Another important thing to do is to inform friends and family about your evacuation plan.  This would be helpful in case of injury or if families become separated.  Having other people aware of your plan will reduce anxiety during a stressful situation.  It is also beneficial to prepare an emergency contact card for each family member to keep on his or her person.  This card should contain contact information for each household member, and out-of-town contact, and other key emergency and medical providers.  You can find a printable form for preparing the emergency contact cards at www.redcross.org/prepare/ECCard/pdf

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