Start the New Year with a Plan

Meet ‘Mary.” Mary, like so many people, started off 2024 with a handful of New Year’s resolutions. One of them was planning ahead for hurricane season. Storms developed so quickly, and it always worried her that she wouldn’t have the essential items she needed if suddenly needed to evacuate. She planned to buy one thing each week, figuring that gave her plenty of time to prepare for the unexpected. Sunday, January 2nd, she would sit down and make a list immediately after church.

Life had different plans… At 6 am on Sunday, Mary was woken up from her sleep with alarm bells ringing and water flooding into her apartment. Her apartment complex had suffered a catastrophic water break on the upper floors. She couldn’t believe how quickly nor how deep the water was getting. She had less than 1 minute to grab her things and leave. Her ceiling was about to collapse.

Mary ran from her apartment wearing a nighty, a robe, slippers, and carrying her phone and her purse. Everything else she owned – and needed – would be trapped inside her soon-to-be condemned apartment for weeks. It didn’t take long to realize she no longer had her hearing aides, most of her medicine, and her glasses. Much of what she owned would never be returned.

Mary had waited too long to plan…

While it may seem overwhelming and costly, the most basic emergency preparations can be simple and inexpensive to do. A large tote bag filled with a few items and an small plastic ‘shoe box’ container kept by the bed can make all the difference in sudden emergencies.

Mary quickly realized something as simple as having a change of old clothes, a travel bag of personal care sample-sized items, a notebook with the names and contact info of key friends and businesses, a pill box with 3 days worth of medicine, a few nonperishable snacks, a twenty dollar bill, and copies of her most essential documents (either in her shoe box or stored on her phone) would have made the next 72 hours far less stressful.

Could her disaster kit contain more? Yes! Flashlights, batteries, canned goods, sneakers, and first aid kits are a good start, and kits can contain far more items, depending on personal needs. However, the only truly ‘bad’ kit is one that doesn’t exist.

This year, don’t put off preparing for the unexpected. As Mary will tell you, the time to plan is now!

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