Preparedness Starts with You

I was reading through some posts on social media this week and felt an immediate kinship with Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management. They too deal with “what if’s” every day and hope that people will do their best to be prepared. So, as often as the budget allows and with a hopeful heart, they put information out that is designed to protect when the going gets its worst. That’s what I hope we do as well with our blog. And I hope we inspire them to come into our offices or another estate planning firm and put a plan into place to take care of themselves and their loved ones when they are no longer able to.

Therefore, here is some great information from Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management about preparing for Natural Disasters. We’d like to point out towards the end, the part about keeping important personal documents and urge you to include your estate planning documents with you or we wouldn’t be doing our job!

Staff Maricopa County Emergency Management from Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management 

We can’t stress enough that personal preparedness is very important. In the event of a major emergency or disaster, first responders may not be able to get to you right away. When thinking about how you can prepare yourself, consider these main points:

Have a plan
Develop and practice a Disaster Plan with your family to prepare for what to do, where to go, how to find each other, and how to communicate. Account for everybody’s needs (seniors, children, people with disabilities, and Non-English Speakers). Examples include:
• Decide where your family will reunite after a disaster.
• Designate an out-of-state friend or relative that family members can call if separated during a disaster. This out-of-state contact can help you communicate with others.
• Ensure family members have a copy of your emergency disaster plan and emergency contact information to keep in their wallets and backpacks.
• Know and practice all possible exit routes from your home and your neighborhood.

Be Ready to Stay
Prepare to stay in your home, or “shelter-in-place” for a prolonged period of time by building an Emergency Kit. Consider the possibility of no electricity or running water. Have enough items in a designated spot in your home to survive on your own for at least three (3) days and up to ten (10) days. Check supplies and update it EVERY THREE MONTHS. Examples of items to include:
• Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries
• Child and/or pet care supplies or other special care items
• Dust mask
• First-aid kit
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Iodine tablets or one quart of unscented bleach (for disinfecting water ONLY if directed to do so by health officials) and eyedropper (for adding bleach to water)
• Manual can opener
• Non-perishable, ready-to-eat canned foods
• One gallon of drinking water per person per day
• Personal hygiene items: soap, feminine products, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc
• Personal sanitation items: moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties
• Phone that does not rely on electricity
• Tools including a utility shutoff tool
• Whistle

Be Ready to Go
Be prepared to evacuate your home in a moment’s notice by creating a Go Bag. Each family member and pet should have their own bag. Also consider a Go Bag for your car and one for work. It should be packed in a sturdy yet easy-to-carry container such as a backpack or suitcase on wheels. A Go Bag should be easily accessible if you have to leave your home in a hurry. Make sure it is ready to go at all times of the year and check and update any items regularly. Examples of items include:
• Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries
• Bottled water and light-weight, non-perishable food such as energy or granola bars
• Change of clothes; sturdy, comfortable shoes; lightweight rain gear; coat and blanket
• Child care supplies (diapers, wipes, food, formula) or other special care items.
• Contact and meeting place information for your family, and a small regional map
• Copies of your important documents in a waterproof and portable container (insurance cards, photo IDs, proof of address, estate planning documents, copies of prescriptions, etc.)
• Credit/Debit cards and cash, especially in small denominations (at least $50-$100 on hand)
• Extra set of car and house keys
• First-aid kit including bandages and antibiotic ointments.
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• Medications and other essential personal items along with a list of medications, why they are taken, and their dosages.

For more information on Maricopa County hazards and how to prepare for them, visit: