How To Get Ready For An Earthquake – Part Three

17 POST Earthquake 3 stock-photos-image472572774Updated 3/23/2021

Facing a disaster without giving yourself a plan to recover from it, is like trying to build a house with no blueprint and no tools!

Having two plans can make all the difference, in getting you through those first few days and weeks after a disaster strikes.  What are the plans?  They are our Evacuation Plan and the Get Back To Life Plan — the same plans that we’ve built into our new program The Backup Plan 3.0.  The evacuation plan is pretty simple.  It all comes from one question…  If you were at home or at work and suddenly had to evacuate your home, or your general area, where would you go?
As you think about the locations you’ll use for your evacuation, consider, the people  travelling with you,  how you’ll get there (car, bus, plane), any pets travelling with you and whether those locations will actually work for you – for instance are they close to stores or services your family might need, like pharmacies, clothing, banks and doctors.
We suggest that people have three different locations in mind, to give you different types of locations and choices depending on the circumstances.   As you create your plan, write everything down in detail.  If you have to use this plan, you and the people you love are probably going to be in panic mode and following an easy to understand plan, will help calm and focus you.
Write down the people who will be travelling with you, and any special instructions you’ll need to gather everyone together, in case a disaster or emergency occurs while you’re all away from home.  Name the location that you and your family will use to meet up with each other and the location you will be evacuating to, if you cannot live in your home, but your immediate area is still safe.  Include the address of the location, contact phone, email address and directions.
Next choose a location (writing down the details, address and contact information) that your family will use if you not only need to evacuate your home, but your immediate area or city.  This might happen during a moderate hurricane or a tornado.  Your third location is out of state, for a serious, widely destructive emergency like Hurricane Katrina, the Iceland Volcano, or other disaster that will make your entire region uninhabitable.
You will also include these locations in your family’s ICE Contacts and emergency wallet cards.  Now, no matter what the disaster, even a fire or local emergency, you and your family will now know where and how to gather, and who will be responsible for what, so you can quickly reunite and travel on to your emergency location together.  If you like, you can also give a card to the person you chose to be your out-of-area contact as well.   Will you have any pets travelling with you?  Be sure to fill out the pet section, so that you will have all the information you need for them, like the name and numbers for the veterinarian, their licenses, and names/numbers of kennels in the location you are evacuating to and any prescriptions or special instructions you’ll need until you return home.

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So are YOU prepared to deal with an earthquake?  Here’s a video with Senator Evan Bayh, describing his experiences during the Christchurch New Zealand earthquake.

Your Get Back To Life Plan

The worst part of any disaster, short of losing a loved one, is the possibility that the home you love and care for and everything in it would be damaged beyond repair.  That is what your Get Back To Life Plan is all about.
Imagine that you and your family have survived an earthquake, but had to leave your area because it is uninhabitable.   You’re in your evacuation location two days after the hurricane subsides.  The phone rings.  It’s a good friend of yours, who has just toured your neighborhood and is calling to tell you that your home is badly damaged and he doubts that you will be able to live in it for several months, if ever again.  After you and your family hold each other for a while and talk, you finally feel strong enough to open your Backup Plan 3.0 Notebook.   There you find your Get Back To Life Plan and begin making calls to your insurance agent, your contractor and your boss.  You call the local real estate agent in your evacuation city and ask her to begin looking for temporary housing, register your children in the local school, and begin calling the contacts you need (that you jotted down just in case), to help you settle in.  Getting settled is easier than you thought, since you have copies of all of the vital documents you need, like your birth certificates and property deeds in a safe deposit box at the local bank.  It takes some time, but with hard work and a lot of courage, you and your family are back to living in a matter of weeks.
Now imagine the same scenario, the same phone call, holding your family, talking and then realizing that you have no plan and no clue how to get back to living your life.   It’s CNN coverage all over again.  The best part of this little scenario is that it hasn’t happened to you and that you have time right now, to make sure no matter what ever occurs in your area, you and your family will be prepared.
Either download our Get Back To Life Plan, or grab a piece of paper.  Take a few minutes to answer the following questions:
  • How will we handle our bank accounts, paying our monthly bills and receiving our paychecks?  How much emergency cash do we need to have, while traveling?
  • What are our credit card limits and toll free numbers for emergency increases?
  • How will we work?  Will we work remotely or have to look for new positions?  What people or contacts can we call about temporary or permanent jobs?
  • How will we handle our medical, dental and prescription needs while in the new location?  What doctors and dentists can we use while there?
  • How long can we stay in our evacuation location?  If we need to remain evacuated longer, where will we go/stay?  Who will our real estate contacts be, if we need to find new permanent or temporary housing?
  • How are we going to secure the property or vehicles we had to leave behind?
  • How will we take care of our pets, during the evacuation and until we find new permanent housing?
  • How will we handle our transportation needs?  What contacts will we need to purchase or lease vehicles?
  • How will we handle our daycare needs?  How will we handle getting our children into school if necessary?  What schools or contacts will we need, to enroll them in a new school in a temporary or new location?
  • How will we handle any special needs in our family?
Once you’ve answered the questions, get your family together to work out any potential problems you have uncovered and then draft your plan.  And don’t forget to compile a list of real estate agents, financial contacts and jobs, schools, doctors and other professionals or information that you might need to establish yourself in the new city temporarily or permanently.
Starting over is never easy, especially when it happens because of a disaster or other life changing emergency.  But taking a few hours now to think through and draft a plan, will give you and your family the direction, information and support that you need, to get through not only the first hours and days after a disaster, but the first steps back to living the life you’ve worked so hard to build.
In case you missed any parts of the series, here are the links to the first two posts…
How To Get Ready For An Earthquake – Part One
How To Get Ready For An Earthquake – Part Two
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together!

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Can Your Cell Phone Can Save Your Life?

Can Your Cell Phone Save Your Life?

Your cell phone can be a real life saver, but can it save your life?  You bet it can, and here’s how.
Can you imagine your life without that electronic appendage of yours? I’m taking about your cell phone. Hard to imagine isn’t it? If you’re like most people, it’s the main way that you connect with your family, friends and business associates. But few people viewed it as their literal lifeline. On 9/11 all that changed. As workers in and around the World Trade Center Can Your Cell Phone Can Save Your Life? | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at began running for their lives, they didn’t necessarily have the time or presence of mind to grab their purses or briefcases. But many of them were smart enough to have made a habit out of always having their cell phone within reach. They grabbed the phone and were able to reach their spouses or their children as they walked down the stairs, before cell phone towers gave out from the overwhelming traffic of users dialing each other all over New York and New Jersey.
How Disaster-Ready is Your Phone?
As the workers ran down endless flights of stairs to safety, many of them learned a very important lesson.
A cell phone is only as good as its battery life and the numbers & information that are stored on it!
Let’s take those lessons one at a time. The first one is easy to prevent. Keep your phone charged. The simplest way to do that is to keep a charger stand where you store your phone every evening, and charge it while you’re watching TV or helping the kids with their homework. What? You don’t keep your phone in the same place every night? That’s another one of those habits you need to get into! What if you had to grab it to make an emergency call in the middle of the night? While you’re at it, purchase an extra phone charger for the office and charge it during the day while you’re reading email or doing routine tasks at work.
Making Your Cell Phone Speak
Lesson two:   You’ve been talking to your cell phone long enough. It’s time you make it speak for YOU – and in a way that can save your family’s lives.
During Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami and other recent disasters, someone came up with the idea of putting an ICE entry, (short for In Case Of Emergency), on your phone, to make your emergency contacts stand out to people reading it in an emergency. The idea quickly spread around the world, and most hospitals now look for ICE entries on the cell phones of unconscious patients.
If a disaster struck right now, where you’re sitting and the only thing you could grab was your cell phone, would you have everything you need to:
  • Reach the people you love
  • Be able to communicate your vital emergency contacts
  • Be able to communicate your basic medical information if you are injured and unable to speak for yourself
  • Survive until you reach home, your loved ones or your pre-planned safe location
That’s a lot of work for one little cell phone, but with some thought and planning, it’s easier than you think to turn your smart phone into your very own emergency command center. In fact we’re going to take this one step further to give you, hospitals and emergency personnel the information necessary to save you or your family member’s life, right in your ICE contacts.


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For specific instructions for your type of phone, here are some of the other articles on our blog.  iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, iPod/iPad.
But in general, here are the steps you need to take to ICE your phone.
Sit down with each member of your family and decide who their two main emergency contacts are going to be. Depending on your cell phone model, you should be able to put quite a bit of information right in that one contact. The contact name of course will be ICE, but you can put the contact’s first name and relationship, (for example Cynthia – Mom) in the company name field, so a doctor reading it, would know that this contact is the patient’s mother.
Play around with the other fields until you fill in all the information you possibly can. For example:
  • Your emergency contact’s main phone number
  • Cell number
  • Work number
  • Email Address
  • IM, Twitter and Facebook address if you need to send them emergency messages or quick updates
  • A direct URL link to your emergency contact information and basic medical history (optional)
For a second contact person, type in a second entry and name it ICE2.
Now about that last item – the direct URL Link. Let’s say you (or someone you love), are unconscious and unable to give the trauma team treating you, your basic medical history. Think about this for a moment. This means that you can’t tell them what medicines you’re allergic to or what conditions you might have that could prove fatal, if they don’t treat you, or your spouse or your child, with your personal medical histories in mind.
We always suggest that our customers use our comprehensive Grab it and Go Forms, to capture each family member’s medical and vital information, insurance numbers, emergency contact numbers and other life saving information. If you don’t have those forms you can make a basic version in Word or Excel. Although you don’t want to record anything that could compromise you or your family – like social security numbers or financial information – make sure that you put down everything you would tell a trauma physician about you or your loved one if you were standing in front of them.
Once you have saved the documents (one for each member of the family) on your computer, print out a couple of copies of each. Place one set at home, in a safe but easy to grab location. Place another set in your and your spouse’s file cabinet at work.
Now store one copy of the documents in the file manager of your personal web site, or secure online file system. Put the URL to this document or file into your cell phone. This way if you are injured, the hospital will be able to grab your medical history and extended emergency contacts. If your spouse, child or even a parent is injured and you are in another location, you can easily access that document and email it to the hospital to speed emergency treatment. You might even include a treatment consent form for your children, in case a hospital needs one to begin treating your child, before you arrive.
If your phone has the capability, you can also store those documents as well as a copy of your family’s emergency plan, right in your phone, in case you ever need it while away from home. You can note the names of the documents in the ICE contact for easy retrieval.
You now have the info you and anyone treating you, would need to have to save your life, reunite your family, and not only function, but thrive after an emergency or sudden disaster.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
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