Winter and Holiday Plans and Checklists . . .

As we approach winter, which officially begins in several weeks on December 21st, we should double check that we are prepared for winter.  If you don’t have year round spigots is your outside water turned off?  If you open your crawl space windows during the summer are they closed?   If you have storm windows, as opposed to double pane windows, do you have the glass down over the screen section?  Many of us do this from memory however in our busy and often distracted lives it would be better to create a check list.   Get an inexpensive loose leaf binder and put your check lists in it so they are saved in one location.    Check list don’t have to be one long list as it is easier to work with several smaller check lists.   This way things are not missed and you don’t end up with broken pipes or a high heating bill.

As we approach the end of November and December it is the time of the year end holidays reign with their celebrations comes outside decorations and gift giving.   It is important that we stay focused during this time of the year and don’t get carried away with the festivities.   First think about travel safety as you will probably be travel one time or another a long distance to visit family, friend or even shop or see a show.    Are you prepared – is your car’s tires in good shape? has your antifreeze been checked lately? do you have an emergency kit in the trunk in case you break down?  is your spare tire properly inflated?  If you take public transportation do you have alternative if the train – bus – plane is cancelled?  If taking a plane trip do know what you can carry aboard?   Next think about shopping – Do you have a shopping list or are you going to wing it and find something?  You have to remember that the holiday crowds often bring out the pick pockets and snatch and grab thieves.    Don’t flash a lot of cash and if you are using a credit card have the card in your pocket ready so you don’t have to pull your wallet out every time you make a purchase.   Speaking of purchases store them in a locked car trunk rather than visible on the rear seat.    Next think about the outside decorations – Are your outside lights rated for outside use? are your decorations anchored in the ground so they don’t blow away?   If you live in a low area that gets either tidal flooding or rain flooding do you have any wires that will get wet?

The common theme that we are focusing on in emergency management is preparedness – Preparedness fits into everything we do – something as simple as checking the weather before you travel is preparedness or making a shopping list before you go to the store is preparedness.  Thinking about the worst case scenario, i.e. what could happen and being ready for it, i.e., alternate transportation plans or winter emergency kit is preparedness.   Life is full of preparedness situations most of which we don’t think as preparedness.   Take a minute and think about it.   You probably can quickly  come up with 10 things you do to make the outcome better.   Now apply the same thought process to the next winter storm or hurricane, etc.   Take a few minutes to write down what you should do – now you have a plan.   Next put the items of the plan in order you have to do them – now you have a check list.   We are creatures of habit if you look at the things you do everyday through preparedness eyes when it is time when a disaster is eminent you will be ready and know what to do.