You’ve worked hard for everything you have in your life.
I’m not just talking about your family and your friends, or the home you live in. I’m talking about the way you live. The things you love to have around you, that make your life comfortable and secure.
Think about the photos that keep all those wonderful moments alive. Your favorite book. An old diary. The keepsakes handed down through the generations that make you and the people you love feel connected.
And what about the other things that make your life secure?
The deed to your house. Your family’s birth certificates. Your bank statements and retirement benefits. Your family’s medical history and school transcripts.
Close your eyes and picture all of those things, all around you, making your life what it is.
Now close your eyes and picture them gone.
In an instant…
All it takes is one hurricane, or one wildfire, and the things you love, the comfortable, secure lifestyle you have worked so hard to create and maintain, is gone.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way!
I’ll admit that in a major disaster like Hurricane Katrina or the recent earthquake in Haiti, you only have control over a few things. For instance, you can’t suddenly pick up your house and move it to a hurricane-free zone and you can’t stop the ground from shaking.
But you CAN make sure the people you love, the things you love and the things you need are out of harm’s way, before a hurricane strikes.
That’s the good thing about hurricanes. You usually have plenty of warning that one is about to strike. And that means you have time to get the people and the stuff that is most important to you to a safe place, before the storm hits. With warning comes time to prepare, and with preparation comes the ability to not only survive a hurricane, but to thrive after the emergency has passed.
The goal? For you to be able to evacuate your home with everything you need, in ten minutes or less. The method? Deciding exactly what “everything you need” means for you, your family and the type of disaster. In other words, for you not to lose your stuff in a hurricane, the first thing we’re going to have to do is figure out what stuff you need and want to keep safe.
So let’s see how hurricanes rate on our Ready in 10 Scale.
If a hurricane was about to strike your area…
§ Would your home be in danger of being destroyed? Yes
§ Would your familyr pets have to evacuate the area to ensure your safety? Yes
§ Will you be in physical danger while evacuating? Probably not
§ Would your vital information, documents, data and keepsakes be in danger of being destroyed, or inaccessible to you? Yes
§ Is there a chance that your neighborhood would be uninhabitable for days, weeks or months after the emergency passes? Yes
§ Is there a chance that your city would be without the basic services necessary to support everyday life, (ie, electricity, gas, water, hospitals, police/fire)? Yes
So, on a scale of 1-6 (6 being the ultimate danger), hurricane rate a 5 or 6 depending on the strength. That rating gives us the first set of tools you’ll need in your Ready in 10 Plan.
Why You Need a Ready In 10 Plan
I know what you’re going to say. Since you live in hurricane country, you already know how to board up your windows and how to make your home hurricane resistant. Great, we’re glad to hear it! And you’re right, it’s easy to find instructions on how to prepare your home.
In fact, if you need them, we have more information about that on our web site. It’s also simple to find information on evacuation routes and public shelters from your local authorities or news stations once a hurricane is imminent. It’s the same type of information that was given before the Northridge Quake, recent earthquakes in Haiti, Italy and Asia and disasters like Hurricane Katrina. And, we agree – that advice saved countless lives.
But if you listen to the stories that came out of those storms and others like them, it wasn’t enough – something was missing. Yes, people survived. But in what condition?
Were they able to pick up the threads of their lives after the disasters and go on, basically in the same shape physically, financially and emotionally as
they were before?
Did they have the information and documentation they needed to prove that everything they possessed before the hurricane – money, property, pensions, insurance, citizenship papers – was actually theirs?
Were they able to maintain the financial status, home and lifestyle they had worked all their lives to attain?
If their homes had been destroyed, were they able to pick up and rebuild their lives in a new city, with the least amount of time, energy and pain possible?
Anyone who watched even a moment of CNN after Haiti or Katrina knows the answer to that question!
They might have survived the immediate disaster, but thousands of people – thousands of families – were unable to thrive once the storm subsided.
If you think about it, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. People that used only the usual information to plan for a hurricane, got the usual results. And because of it, their lives will never be the same.
Preparing your home for a hurricane is vital, but there is really only so much you can do. For example -- Hurricane Katrina. People did a phenomenal job installing hurricane resistant systems in their homes, putting plywood on their windows, and even sandbagging.
But the one thing they could do nothing about, was the city’s infrastructure. Once those levies failed, there was no level of hurricane protection that could save the homes in the path of the raging torrent. In many districts every single home, hurricane ready or not, was undermined. And along with the water and mud, went the contents of those homes and businesses.
That’s why your hurricane emergency plan, must include a way to instantly locate and safeguard the vital information, documents and keepsakes that you’ll need to have access to after the emergency has passed. Once you create your family’s action plan, you can use it in any emergency – not just hurricanes. With it, you’ll be able to evacuate your home, in any emergency, in 10 minutes or less, with everything you need.
We’re not just talking about a couple of checklists and forms, we’re talking about a comprehensive action plan. And that includes the most important thing of all – a Get Back To Life Plan.
We wrote two of our books, “Don’t Lose All Your Stuff In A Hurricane” and “Ready In 10”, to redefine disaster preparedness and planning. The hurricane book, gives you the background and resources you need to be prepared and “Ready In 10” is a quick and easy system you can use to get prepared.
Armed with that plan, you’ll be able to face hurricanes and other emergencies, with the tools you need to get beyond the disaster, recover from it and get on with your life. You’ve just taken disaster preparation to a whole new level!
The Right Way To Plan
Imagine that you get a phone call that you’ve won a free trip to Hawaii. The catch is, you have to be packed, ready and standing at the gate at the airport in 45 minutes.
Whether you’re a planner by nature or not, you would hang up that phone, grab the nearest suitcase and tear through your house tossing everything you can think of into it, and throw it into the back seat of the car so you can grab that flight. You get to your hotel, ready to run down to the sparkling, pristine beach only to discover that you have no swim suit, only flip flops, a hat and a half used tube of toothpaste!
That’s how most people plan for disasters. They put it off and put it off, until an earthquake, a wildfire or a medical emergency rears its ugly head.
Then they run through the house throwing things into the equivalent of that suitcase and end up with none of the tools or information they really need. Unlike our Hawaii example, not having what you need in an emergency, can literally be the difference between life and death or as we’ve already seen, merely surviving, or thriving.
How do you keep yourself from ending up the same way?
By taking some time right NOW to decide three simple things:
§ Who is going with you?
§ Where you are going to go?
§ What you are going to take?
Getting The Picture
Sit in a quiet place for ten or fifteen minutes and close your eyes. Imagine yourself waking up, turning on the TV and the first thing you see is a category 4 hurricane warning and evacuation order for your area. Picture the people that will accompany you if you have to evacuate your home or area. This doesn’t have to just be your immediate family – it could include nearby relatives, good friends, or people with special needs.
Picture yourselves getting ready, grabbing everything that you need. What would all of you need to take with to live comfortably for three to four days?
Besides necessities like clothing and toiletries,
what types of information would you need to take with you? What about keepsakes or treasured items, that might be damaged or destroyed if they remained behind.
Where are you going to go when you evacuate? Can you picture the location? How long you can reasonably expect to stay there. Would you be able to access your bank accounts, prescriptions and medical care?
Would you be working at your job remotely, or would you have to spend your evacuation time away from work? If the evacuation were to drag on for days, weeks or months, would you need to move to a hotel or an alternate location if you were still unable to return home?
Take a few minutes to jot down any problems or solutions that occurred to you, so you can address them as you create your plan.
Your Ready in 10 Plan
If you live in a hurricane-prone area, your plan needs to include:
§ Your Vital Information List: Copies of documents and a way to make them secure and accessible.
§ Your Medical Information List: Medical, allergy and prescription drug history and insurance information for each person evacuating.
§ Your Emergency wallet cards/ID, and optional Mobile Command Center.
§ Your Ready in 10 Evacuation Plan: Who is going to be evacuating with you, where will you go, where will you stay, and how will you get there?
§ Your Ready in 10 Checklist: The items, you need to take with you.
§ Your Get Back To Life Plan: What you and your family will do if you are unable to live in your home, or city for an extended amount of time.
When you purchase “Ready In 10” you’ll receive copies of all of those plans and checklists, ready to fill in by hand or on your computer. We’ll guide you through the process in 10 quick and easy steps.
Since you live in hurricane country, get started by purchasing a copy of the “Ready In 10” System.
After you download “Ready In 10” open up the Quick Start Guide, which will take you through the 10 steps in about 10 minutes each. Once your basic plans are complete, take a few minutes to read the full Ready In 10 book to fill in any gaps you may have missed, and then “Don’t Lose All Your Stuff In A Hurricane,” (also included with the system) for even more resources and tips to keep your family safe.