Thursday, March 12, 2009

Preparing for the Unexpected

Last month our community suffered a terrible tragedy. The crash site of Flight 3407 was only 10 minutes from my home, and because of their proximity to the site, one of my best friend's family was displaced from their home for more than 3 weeks. This kind of disruption is difficult at best and immobilizing at worst. And of course, the losses that were endured by all of the families with relatives and friends on that plane, as well as the family whose home was hit, goes beyond measure. When things like this happen, we feel powerless to do anything to help ourselves feel better. And while it is unlikely that most of us will experience a disaster of this magnitude, we are may be more likely to experience the sudden illness of a loved one, or some other circumstance which requires us to have important supplies and information at our fingertips.

In the moment of an unexpected emergency we react automatically, without thought or hesitation. For example, my friend told me that in the moment of the crash she was so shocked into concern for her children's welfare that she ran throughout the house with knitting yarn wrapped around her feet in a kind of winding Dennis the Menace path. She was not even aware this was happening until much later. Due to time pressure or shock, we may not be able to think clearly or have time to plan the right course of action. It is only after something like this happens that it reminds us how important it is to have a list of items we may need to gather quickly and get out with. Professional Organizer's are familiar with the importance of this issue and can help you with information, resources, and hands-on help. This 2006 Press Release from NAPO Organizer, Liz Canavan, provides a good summary of important things to think of when planning ahead. Although it is overwhelming to consider planning for every possible contingency, organizing your irreplaceable documents may be a great place to begin, and Liz encourages people to do a little at a time. Also see my November 2008 Tip: Permanent Record Storage for details on that project.

Although many of my readers live in New York, I am going to point you to a resource Liz mentions, called Ready Colorado, which has a website filled with information about emergency preparedness, along with checklists and personal profiles that you can print out, complete essential information and make it available to family and friends. I have added it to my list of Things to Do Someday!

Lastly, I have an Important Words form on my website that helps users to keep track of all of those pesky passwords and user names. With all the different requirements each site has, one can easily end up with a hundred words. This form makes it a little easier to remember. Keep it filed in a safe place where others won't see it, and place a copy (update it periodically) in a fire proof file box (which you will hopefully get to organize your documents) or with a trusted relative/friend. This is not only helpful in an emergency, but just for everyday use. I use mine all the time.

A little preparation goes a long way.

1 comment:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!