Emergency Preparedness 2.0

In a previous post on preparedness, I addressed the importance of gathering the various types of personal and community information you might need to help you, your family and neighbors in the event of an individual or community emergency situation.

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Now, I want to look at the types of equipment and supplies you may want to have on hand in case you are faced with an emergency that denies you the use of the many conveniences of daily living we’ve come to expect and often take for granted.

Regardless of the type of storm or other weather event, loss of power is often an early and frequent casualty. And its return can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.

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Okay, quick survey: How many of you, when dealing with a power outage (for any reason), instinctively flip on the light switch when entering another room in your house or apartment?

You can’t see it, but both my hands are raised. The second hand is because I was carrying a flashlight at the time!

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Whether you own or rent a house, a portable generator can provide some helpful comforts until power is restored. It can really save your bacon (and the other perishables in your refrigerator) as well as power a fan or portable heater, light, radio or perhaps more importantly, the coffee maker.

If you do not have a generator available, make sure you have a supply of extra batteries and remember to charge up cell phones and power storage devices. You may also want to buy a long power cord in case your neighbor is willing to share generator power.

Food choices should be nutritious, filling and require little or no cooking. They should also be light and easy to pack in case you need to go to a public shelter until power is restored.

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When you’re getting extra water, you may want to get a few gallon jugs for minor cleaning up in the sink and fill your tub(s) with water before the storm arrives. You can use this water for flushing toilets (If you are without power, the electric pump that refills your toilet tank will not operate).

Regardless of where you are, take time to assess your specific weather-related emergency risks and prepare.

Your individual circumstances will dictate what you need to do, but the important thing is, do it, NOW.

James Benson, Chief Communications Officer

James Benson is a career public relations executive with over 38 years’ experience communicating with diverse audiences in a wide variety of venues. A retired Air Force officer, he spent the latter half of his Air Force career as a public affairs officer enjoying a series of one-of-a-kind positions with equally unique communication challenges. From arranging press conferences, to producing news and training videos, to explaining research, development and contracting issues to the media, he enjoyed tuning in to each audience to ensure the message was received and understood. As the marketing director of a mid-sized hospital, Mr. Benson directed the advertising and promotion of membership and referral programs and community health fairs, conducted outreach efforts to rural health care clinics and community education programs, created a trade show display and produced and hosted a radio health program. At the Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Benson served as a senior public affairs executive responding to media requests, preparing senior officials and subject matter experts for media interviews, hosting a magazine-style television program with benefit information for Veterans and providing emcee support for numerous department and public ceremonies and special events. As an adjunct professor, Mr. Benson has taught classes in communications for the past 10 years. Currently, Mr. Benson is providing strategic communications, media relations and marketing support to B & G Educational Innovations, LLC, makers of ReaLifeSim clinical simulation training products