Everyone, from individuals to businesses to your homestead, should have an emergency preparedness plan.
Don’t think you will have any emergency? Consider items beyond what we normally consider “emergencies” or disasters, like flooding, a hurricane, a tornado, or the like. The Red Cross has a list of emergencies.
Here in the Adirondacks heavy icing can be an emergency – we’re used to lots of snow and most people and townships aren’t much bothered by 2 feet of cold fluff. But a heavy storm can leave trees down, take electrical service out and the extreme cold can freeze up your house in no time. But if you are prepared and can heat the house to keep pipes from freezing, you might be way ahead of your neighbor.
What about other emergencies – a computer failure (important if you write and post on line or have all your financial information on a laptop!), chemical spill near the stream, a fire in the house or barn, extreme cold that affects your outdoor livestock, drought that kills off your garden and winter food supply. Use your imagination and think of the very worst thing you can imagine. Now, is there a way you could preempt it from happening? That’s you emergency preparedness plan.
Companies usually have an emergency preparedness plan written out, and supplies or kits on hand for the just in case, what if” scenario. In case of a house fire, where will your family all meet outside? If the horses or cattle get out of the fence line, who notifies who, and who does what to get them back in?
While it might seem silly to write these things out for your homestead, what if something happens when you are not around? What if your neighbors are taking care of things while you are away for a couple days? What if your house sitter doesn’t know what veterinary office you use in an emergency? What happens if your kids have a campfire that gets out of control? In all these situations, if you have a plan, and it’s written out, all parties concerned have at least some guidance on what to do, who to call, and when to do it.
So write out common problems your homestead may have, and then write out your solution. Make a list of important phone numbers and post it, and hand it out to other caretakers you may employ. Make emergency kits: one for the family like the CDC advises and one for your pets, as per the Humane Society . These are the grab and go bags and boxes full of necessary items. Install equipment or save up to buy equipment that might seem unnecessarily at the time (should I really spend $10,000 on a full house/farm generator?)…you’ll be really glad you did.
Your plan will evolve over time. As you think of new things, face new challenges, write it down. Actually, do more than just write it down. Gather the supplies, fix any issues that could contribute to it, make advance preparations to get through it. While a disaster will still be a headache, being prepared might keep away heartache.
Should-a, could-a, would-a is 20-20 hindsight. Being ready is so much better than looking back and saying, “I should have…”