Strategies for preparedness

September is here, dragging National Preparedness Month (NPM) with it!

(What follows was taken from an article by Sherri Woodridge as found in the Parkinson’s News Today newsletter)

How do you prepare for a disaster? 

I recently read an article about a man with Parkinson’s disease who had a delayed flight and didn’t have any surplus medication with him. The airline staff was no help. He could have prepared by carrying a spare supply (or two, three, or four days’ worth) of medication with him at all times.

I started doing this a while ago, as you just don’t know what might happen. Doing this has saved me countless times from experiencing an unplanned “off” time. Or worse.

Why do we put it off? 

The old adage “It will never happen to me” comes to mind when asking that question. But the truth is that disasters, like a Parkinson’s diagnosis, can happen to anyone at any time, no matter their age, time zone, or bathroom decor. 

Shortly after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, my in-laws invested in a good-sized duffel bag. This was to be their “grab-and-go” bag. They kept it in the closet next to the front door. It was ready to grab and go if they had to get out of the house in a hurry.

Experience had shown them what it meant to confront a disaster head-on. They weren’t wasting time preparing for another disaster.

When it comes time to discuss your disaster plan with loved ones (now!), make sure to designate a meeting place should the need to evacuate arise. Just as you should update the supplies in your bag, you also should occasionally update your meeting place to ensure it still works for everyone involved.

What should you include in your bag?

If you are at home when disaster strikes, you will be ready to head out the door with your emergency duffel bag. However, if you are at work or elsewhere, having a mini bag is recommended, such as a backpack or a small duffle bag that you can store in your car. 

Everyone’s bag will differ slightly, but to get you started, following are suggestions of what to include in your mini grab-and-go:

  • Copies of your license, Social Security card, medical information (doctors, medications, insurance info, medical hardware charger and info, emergency contact info, allergies, etc.), all sealed in a waterproof bag.
  • Medication for two to five days.
  • Cash (in smaller bills).
  • Small flashlight and spare batteries.
  • Multipurpose tool.
  • First-aid kit.
  • Bottled water.
  • Small snacks. 
  • Comfortable shoes and a lightweight jacket.

Large duffel grab-and-go suggestions:

  • Duplicate contents of the waterproof bag listed above.
  • Cash (again, smaller bills).
  • First-aid kit.
  • Extra medication.
  • Toilet paper.
  • Personal wipes and antibacterial soap.
  • Multipurpose tool.
  • Flashlight and spare batteries.
  • Water, freeze-dried meals, dried fruit, and nuts.

The list can go on and on, and you can find more suggestions on what to include at the government’s build-a-kit site.

Assembling a preparedness kit will give you some peace of mind should a disaster occur. At the very least, it should help to prepare you.