Why do you promote preparedness?

Their survival depends on working together.

I’ve been asked more than once why I keep on promoting emergency preparedness, particularly when it’s so often an uphill battle. (You’ll see that uphill-ness in last month’s report on the National Preparedness Survey.) Well, my answer isn’t because I’m a wilderness survivor wannabe, though I was an enthusiastic camper in earlier years.  And it’s not because preparedness is a get-rich-quick scheme.

Still, the questioners have a point. Why DO I keep working year after year on sharing preparedness ideas and tips? And if you do this too, then the question is a good one for you!

Here are some of the reasons why I promote preparedness.

I’m an educator at heart.

Want to see me perk right up? Simply give me a white board or a microphone and any size audience. Or just a small kid trying to understand how a tool works. When it comes to sharing information about emergency preparedness, if you’re like me you see people around you who – to put it bluntly – are just waiting to become the victims of whatever disaster comes along! I always feel that just a few sensible changes could do so much to protect them!

Education is the impetus behind our weekly Advisories. In particular, it’s the impetus behind our 2020 “Q&A mini-series” of simple, educational booklets. Pick just one booklet, follow through with some of the questions, and it could make a big difference for your safety and security!

I’m on the last booklet in this series, now. It’s all about protecting your pet in an emergency. Just last night I finished a question and answer about the five different kinds of emergency shelters you might encounter in an evacuation situation. And only two of those shelters will accept your pet! If you’re a “pet parent,” plan to get your hands on this booklet as soon as it gets published! (In the meanwhile, here’s the link to all the booklets that are already available.)

A second reason that I promote preparedness is because I believe in “lifelong learning!”

Now, this is closely aligned with curiosity, defined by Merriam-Webster as “inquisitive interest.” (My daughter goes so far as to describe me as “indiscriminately curious!”) For example, I am currently doing research and setting up interviews for an article on the topic of “helicopter water hydrants.” You got that right. These are big water tanks strategically placed where a helicopter with a snorkel can quickly fill up to fight a nearby fire. You can bet I’m learning a whole lot more about aerial firefighting – all the equipment, and what it costs!

Perhaps you’ve also noticed that I often produce Advisories in response to readers’ questions. The first Advisory about face masks, for example, came about when a reader asked about smoke after the fires in Northern California. And the Advisory on pepper spray and stun guns was prompted by a granddaughter. Invitation: if you have an emergency preparedness topic you’d like to see more about, please let me know. We might be able to work on it together.

Result? Over the years, taking an emergency preparedness lead becomes a way of life.

After getting the CERT training Joe and I added more classes of one sort or another nearly every year. We “improved” our collection of gear by researching and then buying better quality stuff. (I share a lot of that kind of research.) We follow our own advice to always have gas in the car and toilet paper in the cupboard – so when COVID resulted in an overnight shut-down, we sat back comfortably and didn’t have to go to the store for several weeks. (In fact, we traded some of that toilet paper for peanut butter, if I recall.)

So I think you could say that for me . . .

Sharing the “preparedness way of life” has become a mission!

(Now, I wouldn’t classify it as a passion. That’s a bit too wild and exciting. We’re more interested in a steady, common-sense approach!)

How do you measure the progress of a mission?

As already mentioned, we haven’t witnessed a massive improvement in preparedness in the country or in our community. Our surveys reveal our community to be a bit better than average, but since the community keeps changing . . .! But I do look for signs of progress like these:

  • A continued stream of well-attended community meetings featuring preparedness experts. (Remember the “digital fire extinguisher” meeting I described last year? A perfect example of getting neighbors engaged and involved!) Of course, those meetings have stopped for now. We’re having to promote preparedness via online meetings these days!
  • Steady activity at Amazon where our little books and our recommended products keep selling. In the marketing world, a favorite saying is “Nothing happens until somebody buys something.” Activity at Amazon means something is happening!
  • Emails from readers wanting sample worksheets or a chance to discuss the outreach they are doing in their own community. These personal interactions are the highlight of my work.

So while the progress toward more preparedness isn’t dramatic, it does feel as though our work is leaving the world a little better than when we found it. That feeling alone is enough to keep us motivated!

What’s your reason for promoting preparedness?

Now, I have taken a whole page to describe our Emergency Plan Guide “mission.” Traditionally, a business’s “mission statement” is just one or two sentences about goals and purpose! I’m not sure I could condense everything to something that short without a lot more effort! (You’ll remember what Mark Twain said about not having time to write a short letter . . .)

Long or short, what would your “mission statement” answer be if someone asks you about why YOU keep promoting emergency preparedness? Let us know in the comments!

Your Emergency Plan Guide team

P.S. The why question isn’t an idle one. The more we know about why, the easier it is to identify people who share that why — and the results you can get by working together will be magnified!

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