Hurricane Preparedness Week - Is your plan ready? By Melissa Esham 9/29/2014 I like to think I am prepared for a crisis, ready to go in any emergency and I have my family emergency preparedness plan in place! I have water, blankets, candles, matches, 5 days worth of canned goods, a non electric can opener…I even have a tow rope in my car and I drive a Honda Civic? So I was a little shocked when I realized my great preparedness plan had a MAJOR FLAW. They call it a family communications plan and it was sorely out of date! So I logged on to www.ready.gov to make sure I got all the steps covered! The family needs to chose someone who lives out of state to notify that they are safe. My sister lives across the country – easy and done! Sent an email to my sister letting her know she has been awarded the incredible honor of keeping us organized in a disaster. Make sure every member of your household knows the number and has a cell phone, coins or a prepaid phone card. UHOH – My kid is 11 years old and doesn’t have a phone yet, despite desperate pleas on his part. He has an iPad that has texting ability but is not allowed to take it with him to school. PROBLEM Solved– there is a convenient form to fill out for kids to carry in a back pack for smaller children, or if you too are holding out purchasing a phone for your tween! Enter the persons number in to your phone as ICE – which is an abbreviation for In Case of Emergency. First responders are trained to look through your phone for this information. I had to separately google and watch a YouTube video on how to do this on an iPhone and then I had to talk Siri in to letting the contact to be seen even when the phone was locked. Texting – make sure the family knows how, because often texting can go through when a phone call can not. Admittedly, I have one close family member who is absolutely refusing to learn, and I bet you do too… We planned an intervention. Subscribe to alert services. My county and town has separate emergency subscriptions so I signed up for both. So it took about 10 minutes – start to finish. (Maybe less if you are firm in your decision to not purchase your child a phone.) Log on to Ready.gov for more preparation tips. Click here for a fourteen page document for you to read on hurricane preparedness, or... Download this great, free App - FEMA Now. The app allows you to have preparation, weather alerts, and disaster resources readily available through your smart phone. Be prepared, be ready and be well. Thanks for reading.