By Larry Krauser, JFHQ-NCR/MDW certified emergency managerJanuary 9, 2014
Many of us use the New Year to set goals and make resolutions for the year to come. These range from eating right, exercising more, to even losing a few pounds (I know I can!).
One goal you might consider for the New Year is to be prepared, to know what to do in an emergency.
This year, FEMA is releasing Prepared in 2014 (http://www.ready.gov/prepared2014). Discuss with your family and friends the importance of preparedness.
Start with a conversation: who to call, where to meet and what you'll need in an emergency.
Build your emergency supply kit over the first few months by picking up recommended emergency items (http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit).
Create a checklist that includes emergency phone numbers and copies of important documents, and information. Register for programs such as the American Red Cross Safe and Well website and your local notification programs (http://www.capitalert.gov/).
Talk to your family throughout the year about your emergency communication plan. Include any children in your planning activities and practices. There are age-appropriate tools and resources (www.ready.gov/kids) you can use for your children.
If you have pets also create a plan for them. FEMA has a pet go-bag and other tips from FEMA on caring for your pets.
Older adults and special needs family and friends often require specific medications or have other special requirements. Include these in your preparedness planning.
Emergencies, accidents, and weather events, such as the recent polar vortex can and will happen, establish 2014 as the year you and your family will be prepared.