Make Your Family Findable – Spring Break Edition!

It’s Spring!!!  

Finally, right?  Even though in most places, it wasn’t a bad winter weather-wise, it’s definitely time to shed the gloves, hats and boots and break out the sandals and spend more time outdoors.

Whether you and your family are getting ready for vacation or sending the kids  off on Spring Break, here are a couple of things to add to your smartphone or suitcase before you leave.  Don’t worry, they won’t take up much space.  And they might just help keep you and your family safe.
Another great way to keep the family safe while away from home, is to make sure they’re findable in five minutes or less. That’s a lesson that Senator Evan Bayh learned the hard way when he and his wife found themselves in Tokyo during the Fukushima earthquake.  He was doing press, she was shopping across town and suddenly, they quake struck and they were on their own.  Yes he had a staff that was eventually able to reunite them.  But if you’re light on staff, here are some great tips to keep tabs no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
Don’t have time to read the whole post?  Just right click to download the Make Your Family Findable Shortcut Sheet
Making Your Family Findable
Smartphones, tablets and notebook computers are a phenomenal way to stay in touch with each other during an emergency.  Whether you send an email, text, tweet or Facebook message, you can find out the location and condition of everyone you love in seconds.   In a dire emergency, you can even send help, confirm or update emergency plans and even mobilize family and friends to be at the side of someone who’s been injured, using real time information. 
Since emergencies are by nature, completely unpredictable, the best way to prepare yourself and your family is to give yourselves as many different avenues of communication as possible.   You never know which one will make the difference.
So going back to our example, during earthquakes in Japan, cell phone towers barely worked because of earthquake damage and overloaded networks.  But Wi-Fi was up and running.  So what kept the Japanese connected with their families and the outside world?  Twitter, Facebook, Skype and YouTube!   Whether we’re talking about tornadoes in Oklahoma, wildfires in Colorado or Superstorm Sandy, giving yourself and your family options is a smart idea.
Update Your Smartphones
When you created your Family Evacuation Plan (if you haven’t done that yet, go do it now – we’ll wait for you), you listed the phone numbers, email addresses and social media addresses for each family member in your household. 
Now we’re going to take that one step further by adding all of that information to each family member’s smartphones.  While you’re at it, add new contacts on everyone’s phones for all of your out-of-area emergency contacts. 
Direct Messaging
If cell phone service is down and you are unable to text, don’t forget that Twitter and Facebook can also be used to send direct messages.  Those are personal messages that only go to the recipient – not broadcast to the whole world. If you don’t know how to send a direct message, here’s a quick tutorial. 
First, you need to make sure that every member of your family is following or has “liked” all of the other family members on Twitter and Facebook.  That will enable you to direct message each other.
  • For Twitter, click on Messages, then Direct Messages and then type in @ and the family member’s username.  Then type in your message and hit send.
  • For Facebook, click the little message icon at the top of your page (between the little people and the little earth).  Then click Send New Message and type in the name of the recipient or recipients and click send.
When Time Is An Issue…
Using a social media platform like HootSuite.com may help.  With HootSuite, you can send a single message that can be posted to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn simultaneously, ensuring that your family or friends would see your message immediately, no matter what site they happen to be on at the moment.
The Value Of A Photo
During the Joplin tornado, even lifelong residents found themselves disoriented when the tornado turned their normal landmarks into kindling. 
If your spouse or kids don’t know where they are after an emergency and need help a quick photo texted or uploaded to Instagram or Facebook could help you locate them.  This is especially true of GPS enabled phones or photos with geolocation.
Creating A Communications Plan
Once you and your family have updated your phones and completed your evacuation plans, sit down with them to discuss the ways you can use technology to stay in touch with each other during a disaster. 
Come up with some sample scenarios; for example, if a disaster were to happen while your family members were at work, at school or running errands during a normal day. 
  • How would you connect with each other? 
  • Would you text each other, or would calling or emailing be faster? 
  • If you have teens or young adults at home, their natural proclivity may be to send out a text or a tweet on Twitter, to update everyone, including you, on their location or situation. 
Find out the types of communication everyone prefers and then create an emergency communication plan that makes sense for your family.
What If?
Another great discussion to have with your family, especially with school age children, is what they would do if they had to get a hold of you but the cell phone system was out, or what to do if there was an area-wide blackout.    Don’t laugh, that actually happened to us in California!
Kids are so used to technology that they might not have the experience that they need to do things the old school way.   The best way to plan is to give yourselves as many ways as possible to stay connected.  Then if one or two normal methods are unusable, you’ll all simply turn to a different method to reach each other. 
Grab The Sat Phone
If you’re in an area with frequent emergencies like tornadoes or hurricanes, live out in the country or have a family member in a foreign country, consider getting satellite phones. 
They work in remote areas where there is no cell phone coverage and when cell towers are down.  If you don’t want the expense of a dedicated satellite phone, there are a few devices that turn your smartphone into a satellite phone.  
What’s The Code?
Lastly, consider creating a Family Emergency Code or Word.  This is a code or word that only you and your immediate family know. 
When a family member says it, texts it or emails it to the rest of the family, it signals that they’re in trouble and need help. 
It’s only to be used in extreme emergency and means that everyone needs to drop what they’re doing and establish contact with each other, immediately. 
Find My Family ASAP
Find My Friends is an iPhone app that is designed to let you know at a glance where your friends are.  But you can also use it to immediately locate your children, spouse and loved ones in an emergency. 
All your family has to do is allow you access on their phones, and if need be, you can immediately see where everyone is in real time, complete with map and directions.
Now that you know what to do, go download our free shortcut sheet, How To Make Your Family Findable, use it to update your phones, grab your flip flops and sunscreen and you’ll be on your way.   
Happy Spring!   #springbreak #familyvacation
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
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Introducing… Connected

Purchase Connected @ Amazon.com
More Amazing Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes Or Less
How To Download and Back Up Your Digital Photos
How To Fill Out Your Kid’s Emergency Contact Card

_________________________________________________

Connected | The Book Inspired By The Blog.

Connected | Saving Lives & Connecting Families One Smartphone @ A Time. rnn10.wordpress.com

What if I told you, there was one thing that you own and probably have with you right now, that can give you the support, information & ability you need to keep everyone and everything you love safe and sound, PLUS the power to gather your family in seconds no matter where they are. What is it? It’s your smartphone! Introducing Connected, an easy to read, easy to use guide that gives you everything you need to turn your smartphone into your very own life preserver. Purchase Connected @ Amazon.com

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Help Your Friends & Family Prepare for Hurricane & Tornado Season

Question.

If you could keep your friends and neighbors from losing the things they love most in the next hurricane or tornado, would you do it?   
Well the good news is, now you can.  And it only takes the click of a mouse.  
Here’s how.
Now that hurricane season and tornado season are here, I started thinking about the news coverage of Hurricane Sandy.
There was this one woman that I’ll never forget. Her name was Phyllis.
She was talking to a reporter outside of what was left of her Staten Island home, when she saw a large, yellowed piece of paper lying across the yard. Phyllis grabbed it, clutched it to her chest and began sobbing. It was her mother’s wedding photo, the only copy she had, now mud-soaked and disintegrating in her hands.
The worst part is, the pain she felt over that destroyed photo was absolutely preventable.
We’ve been through more than a few disasters ourselves, including an earthquake and an airplane crashing into our neighborhood. In fact that’s the reason we wrote “Get Your Stuff Together”.
But the other day when I thought about Phyllis, I knew I had to do something more.  Something else that will keep people from having to experience that kind of pain.
Not just one family at a time, but hundreds.
So here’s the plan. There’s something we can all do, right now, to prevent pain with just one click.
We just negotiated a special discount on “Get Your Stuff Together” for everyone who wants to buy 10 or more copies of the book. It doesn’t matter whether it’s for your church, your business, your Air Force base, your kid’s school, service organization or your Little League team.
Just let us know how many copies your group, company or organization wants, and we’ll get the books to you ASAP.   Are you ready, because here comes the link you need to click to make it all happen.
Click here https://www.createspace.com/3823528 to order your copies directly from our publisher’s website.  Just make sure you enter coupon code: BWXNWPZ7 to get your discount. 
Or if you want us to order them for you,  email us at webmaster1 at nokep.org, let us know how many copies you want, and we’ll take it from there.
So what do you think? Are you ready to help the families in your community stay safer this hurricane and tornado season?
All it takes is One Click.

Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together!    We’ll talk later…

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Buy Paperback Edition $24.99         Buy Downloadable Edition $8.00
More Amazing Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes Or Less
How To Set Up An ICE Contact On Your Smartphone
How To Download and Back Up Your Digital Photos
How To Have Your Medical History At Your Fingertips
How To Fill Out Your Kid’s Emergency Contact Card

Learn how to put an ICE Contact on every type of smartphone in just minutes with The ICE My Phone Kit! Paperback Edition $14.99   Buy now at Amazon.com  Downloadable PDF Edition $5.00 Buy Now  Read more about it
_________________________________________________

The Book Inspired By The Blog. The Backup Plan 3.0

The Backup Plan 3.0 | Filled with Quick and easy steps you can take right now, to keep everything that’s important to you, safe, sound and accessible. rnn10.wordpress.com

The Backup Plan 3.0, is filled with quick, easy, 5 minute steps you can take right now, to get everything that’s important to you organized, safe, sound and accessible.  Each section covers a different area, from backing up and fixing family photos, home movies and music, to vital documents, medical and financial information and even getting your digital life in order.  This special Bonus Edition includes 7 downloadable Bonus Books.  Paperback Edition $24.99   Buy now at Amazon.com  Downloadable PDF Edition $8.00  Buy Now       Read more about it

How To Back Up Your Photos, Videos and Music | Filled with Quick and easy steps you can take right now, to keep your photos, videos and music, safe, sound and accessible. www.getyourstufftogether.com

I don’t know about you, but the most important keepsakes in our house are our old family photos, followed closely by our home movies and music.  The problem is, grabbing piles of photo albums and all of the picture frames off the walls is hard to do if you have to get out of the house quickly. With How To Back Up Your Photos, Videos and Music, you’ll learn quick, easy steps to back up your print/digital photos, home movies, cassettes, vinyl albums and archive them in multiple, disaster proof locations.     $12.95   Buy now at Amazon.com    Read more about it

 

Raise Money & Save Lives!  Free Customized Editions of our books make a great fundraiser for your organization, companyor an extra stream of income for you.  

Your Business Continuity Plan May Be Missing Something…  Like your employees, for instance?  If your city is struck by a tornado, earthquake or other disaster, it isn’t just your company that will be affected – so will your employees.  That’s why you need to make sure they’re as prepared for an emergency as YOU are.  Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.  Read More About It

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Watch Our How-To Videos On YouTube

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Free Resources

Why Is Hurricane Sandy Different Than Other Storms?

Why Is Hurricane Sandy Different Than Other Storms? | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com

Hurricane Sandy touched people.

It wasn’t worse than Hurricane Katrina, more costly than the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami or more deadly than Haiti.
It was just different.  And that difference affected us.
It was so easy to say that the neighborhoods Katrina affected weren’t built as well as other areas.  Or that the people didn’t have enough money to get out of the storm’s path and ended up being victims of the system they thought would protect them.  And with Japan, well low-lying islands + the threat of tsunamis + the nuclear power plants that spanned those islands spells disaster in any language.
But Hurricane Sandy hit neighborhoods that we all recognized.  Regular houses, safe for decades, most of them far enough away from the water not even to be considered beach adjacent, let alone beach front — now lying blocks away from their foundations.
People just like the parents and grandparents everyone has or grew up knowing — now picking through the rubble for whatever remains of their beloved photos and keepsakes.
The woman we saw standing in the rubble of her home on MSNBC (video above) says it all.  That pile of sticks and mud and wood is what’s left of her life.  She and her husband struggled to work and save and raise their family and retire.  And they made it!  They achieved everything they had worked so hard for.  And then, in just a few hours, their dream was gone along with their home and their future.
Hurricane Sandy was different.
It’s was the Jersey Shore of MTV.  It was Archie Bunker’s Queens.  It was the Staten Island of a thousand tv shows and movies.  It was America.  And it was our friends and neighbors.  It was Everyman and Everywoman.
When Mom and I saw the expression of the woman in the video clip above on MSNBC,  we just looked at each other.  We said almost in unison, “That’s it.  That’s what we’re fighting against.  That’s what we’re trying to prevent.”
Loss.
Not just the loss of data when a computer decides not to turn on.  Not just monetary loss, when someone doesn’t have access to the account number they need to get cash when they’re evacuating.  That’s important, don’t get me wrong.  And those are things every one of us can and needs to prevent.
But we’re talking about real loss.  Head turning, stomach churning loss.  The loss of things people love.  The loss of things that make their lives unique and special and lovely.  The things that make their lives, theirs.  The photos of their wedding.  The home movies of their child walking for the first time.  The music that played during their junior prom or that they danced to on their tenth anniversary.
Loss.
Every one of those keepsakes, are things that can be backed up, archived, scanned and protected, quite easily.  All people have to do is decide what things in their life are unique and special and important to them, then back them up and place those archives in at least three different locations.  If one location is damaged or destroyed, they still have their stuff in the other location.
That’s all there is to it.  Yes it might take them an afternoon or two.  But we’ve walked thousands of people through it.  All it takes is a few simple steps with simple tools.
Loss is a horrible feeling.  It’s the feeling of someone wrenching something you love away from you and there’s nothing you can do to get it back.  It’s an awful combination of sadness and powerlessness and guilt, that no human being should have to experience.
The victims of Hurricane Sandy lost their homes and their neighborhoods and their livelihoods.    There’s nothing that they could have done to prevent that.   But those precious families didn’t have to end up without a plan of where to go and what to do next.  They didn’t have to end up without the vital information and the documents they’re going to need over the next few months to pull their lives back together.  And they didn’t have to lose the treasures and the keepsakes and the precious memories that make their lives so rich and full and special.
Loss.
That’s what we’re working so hard to prevent.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together!    We’ll talk later…
blogendsignature

 

Buy Paperback Edition $24.99         Buy Downloadable Edition $8.00
More Amazing Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes Or Less
How To Set Up An ICE Contact On Your Smartphone
How To Create Your Family’s Evacuation Plan
How To Download and Back Up Your Digital Photos

Learn how to put an ICE Contact on every type of smartphone in just minutes with The ICE My Phone Kit! Paperback Edition $14.99   Buy now at Amazon.com  Downloadable PDF Edition $5.00  Buy Now  Read more about it
_________________________________________________

The Book Inspired By The Blog. The Backup Plan 3.0

The Backup Plan 3.0 | Filled with Quick and easy steps you can take right now, to keep everything that’s important to you, safe, sound and accessible. rnn10.wordpress.com

The Backup Plan 3.0, is filled with quick, easy, 5 minute steps you can take right now, to get everything that’s important to you organized, safe, sound and accessible.  Each section covers a different area, from backing up and fixing family photos, home movies and music, to vital documents, medical and financial information and even getting your digital life in order.  This special Bonus Edition includes 7 downloadable Bonus Books.  Paperback Edition $24.99   Buy now at Amazon.com  Downloadable PDF Edition $8.00  Buy Now       Read more about it

How To Back Up Your Photos, Videos and Music | Filled with Quick and easy steps you can take right now, to keep your photos, videos and music, safe, sound and accessible. www.getyourstufftogether.com

I don’t know about you, but the most important keepsakes in our house are our old family photos, followed closely by our home movies and music.  The problem is, grabbing piles of photo albums and all of the picture frames off the walls is hard to do if you have to get out of the house quickly. With How To Back Up Your Photos, Videos and Music, you’ll learn quick, easy steps to back up your print/digital photos, home movies, cassettes, vinyl albums and archive them in multiple, disaster proof locations.     $12.95   Buy now at Amazon.com    Read more about it

 

Raise Money & Save Lives!  Free Customized Editions of our books make a great fundraiser for your organization, companyor an extra stream of income for you.  

Your Business Continuity Plan May Be Missing Something…  Like your employees, for instance?  If your city is struck by a tornado, earthquake or other disaster, it isn’t just your company that will be affected – so will your employees.  That’s why you need to make sure they’re as prepared for an emergency as YOU are.  Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.  Read More About It

Like Us On Facebook

Follow Us On Twitter

Watch Our How-To Videos On YouTube

Join Us On Pinterest

Free Resources

How To Get Ready For A Hurricane

How To Get Ready For A Hurricane | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com.

Nothing is more unpredictable than a hurricane.

As Hurricane Isaac made landfall on the New Orleans coastline as a category 1 storm, residents couldn’t help remembering another storm just a few short years earlier that took the lives of at least 1,836 people and changed the lives of tens of thousands more.  
But even with a category 1 storm like Isaac, lives can change. 
Just ask the residents that didn’t think that Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Irma were going to be as big a deal as Superstorm Sandy or Hurricane Katrina and decided not to evacuate. 
People who thought that their homes would be okay, ended up having to grab whatever they could — not necessarily what they would need – and evacuate with just a few minute’s notice.
It certainly proves one thing — you just can’t count on history or predictions, to help you decide what’s right for yourself, your property or your family.

So what’s the best way to prepare for a hurricane?

It’s a good lesson for us all.  Even though you might not technically live in a disaster zone or directly in the way of an approaching hurricane or wildfire, it doesn’t hurt to have the things that are important to you, ready to go. As we tell our customers (and practice ourselves), you have to keep your vital information, documents and keepsakes backed up to at least three different locations and your emergency bin packed ready to go at a moment’s notice.  That way if you suddenly have to evacuate, those things will already be taken care of.  It’s just one more thing you won’t have to worry about doing at the last minute or doing without, later.
The best thing about a hurricane — at least as opposed to earthquakes and tornadoes — is that you usually get a few days notice that they’re coming.  Like our friends in New Orleans and Tampa, Hurricane Isaac was predicted giving some residents time to gather up their belongings and evacuate.  But of course Isaac turned the opposite direction striking areas that weren’t originally expected.  One important take-away from these disasters is the importance of staying aware and using evacuation warnings to get your own stuff together even if the homes on your particular street aren’t in immediate danger.   Heed warnings when they are given!  Stubbornly staying behind because residents think they can “handle it” has gotten thousands of people killed.  Another lesson is to always purchase flood insurance.
So how do you prepare for a hurricane? As we tell our readers, we always follow the Three Step Approach.

Step One

Make sure that you have your disaster survival gear and know how to secure your home and personal safety when a hurricane strikes.

Step Two

Make sure that you’re able to grab everything you need – necessities, keepsakes, vital information – and leave for a safer location, in less than ten minutes. It’s a lot easier than it sounds. All you need is to do is to take the necessary steps now, to ensure you have access to all the items and information that will help you get back to living your normal life, as quickly and easily as possible. You’ll also want to make sure that the things that are most vital to you — your important papers, financial and insurance information, treasured photos, videos and music and scannable keepsakes are backed up onto a portable hard drive and stored in a safe deposit box or safe, in the town where you will go during evacuation. That way it will be safe, sound and waiting for you when you arrive.

Step Three

Make sure that you have a pre-written plan of what you’ll do and where you’ll go when a disaster strikes, including a plan for how you’ll get back to your normal life, once the disaster is over.
If you live in hurricane country, you absolutely need an Evacuation Plan and a Get Back To Life PlanIf you don’t know the evacuation routes in your area, call your local fire department for this information way before hurricane season.  And while you’re at it, make sure you also ask them where the emergency shelters are in your area in case  you suddenly need one.  You always need to know where you’re going and what you and your family would do if your area becomes uninhabitable.   If necessary make a plan with other relatives or neighbors to evacuate together and share transportation and costs.
Even if your home is safe from rising flood waters and away from the areas predicted to feel the heaviest impact of the storm, your neighborhood and city might still without power or basic city services for a few days — or a few weeks.  Just as survivors of Hurricane Isaac and Hurricane Katrina!  Telephone and/or cell service may also be down.   Not only does that mean you won’t have light, but you also won’t have power for computers or televisions and radios. Grocery and drug stores won’t be able to ring up purchases, ATMs won’t work, garage door openers might not function. Name any tool or convenience we rely on in this world and chances are it’s powered by electricity.
So if your hurricane plan is to shelter-in-place make sure that you always have an alternative source of power, battery powered flashlights, extra cash, a supply of canned or frozen food that doesn’t need to be cooked to be eaten, and the all-important supply of water – enough to last you and everyone in your family for three days. Since your home or neighborhood might have significant damage, keep rubber-soled shoes, a warm jacket and other emergency gear within reach of your bed or right inside your closet. Rubber soled shoes will protect your feet from the broken glass, turbid water and rocks that will probably be strewn everywhere.  
We aren’t going to get into the details of how to turn off your gas, when to boil water or a list of items to have on hand for a hurricane, because there are literally hundreds of sources for that information, including a few of our favorite guides and videos listed below:
Hurricane Guide       Hurricane Checklist       Hurricane? Be Prepared, Plan Now Video   Hurricane Video by Weather Channel’s Bryan Cross
You should also create or update your evacuation checklist, detailing the items that you and your family would need if you were unable to live in your home for three or more days. This includes all of your necessities, prescriptions, vital documents (or access to them on portable hard drives, online or in out of area safe deposit boxes), keepsakes, personal and professional contacts, ID and basic medical history and anything else that your family will need while evacuated.

We want you to think about something.

Think about the coverage of the last few hurricanes and floods you saw on CNN.   Like Hurricane Sandy for example.  Remember the faces of the people in the midst of the storm?
They looked shell-shocked, terrified, lost. Most of those people, were at least moderately prepared for a disaster. Those in earthquake country most likely had stockpiled some food and water, those in hurricane country might even have evacuated and done everything their local news and emergency authorities told them to do. And yet, after the disaster, they were standing there, scared and helpless, because their homes, the people they loved, and basically their entire lives have been destroyed to the point that their own existence was now unrecognizable. All of those people, rich and poor, young and old — they all had one thing in common. They had NO idea where to go and what to do from here.
And THAT – knowing what to do and where to go after the disaster, is step three.  The most important step of all.
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 the Family Evacuation Plan and the Get Back To Life Plan — the same plans that we’ve built into our newest book Ready.  
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 traveling with you, how you’ll get there (car, bus, plane), any pets traveling 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 traveling 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.

Location, Location

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 the Mexico Earthquake, Hurricane Irma or Maria, the California Wildfires, or other disaster that will make your entire region uninhabitable.
You will also include these locations on your emergency wallet card and your family’s 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 traveling 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.

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 the hurricane, but had to leave your area because it is uninhabitable.
You’re in your evacuation location a week after the waters subside. 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 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.
If you don’t have a copy of our Get Back To Life Plan yet, just download it here.  
Take a few minutes to think about 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.

Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together!    We’ll talk later…

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