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Professional Guide on Emergency Preparedness

When it comes to safeguarding your home and loved ones, nothing beats being prepared for emergencies. From natural disasters to unexpected crises, having a solid plan in place can make all the difference. In this comprehensive guide, we will explain emergency preparedness, touching upon vital aspects of disaster management, document binders, evacuation preparedness, and the role of professional organisers and home organising services in ensuring your readiness for any situation.

Disaster Management and Document Binder Essentials

Emergency Preparedness - Little Home Organised

Disaster management encompasses a range of strategies aimed at mitigating the impact of emergencies on individuals and communities. Central to effective disaster management is the organisation and safekeeping of essential documents. A document binder serves as a critical repository for vital paperwork, including identification cards, insurance policies, medical records, and legal documents such as wills and power of attorney.

 

In times of crisis, having quick access to these documents can streamline processes such as making insurance claims, proving identity, and accessing necessary medical information. Emergency preparedness hinges on the accessibility and completeness of these documents. This makes the document binder a cornerstone of emergency readiness.

The Role of Professional Organisers in Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness - Little Home Organised

Professional organisers help individuals and families prepare for emergencies. With their expertise in decluttering and organising spaces, these professionals can assist in creating streamlined systems to maximise efficiency and safety. Here’s how professional organisers can help support your emergency preparedness:

 

  1. Document management

Professional organisers can assist in creating and maintaining a comprehensive document binder. This contains vital records, emergency contacts, and essential information. Also, they ensure documents are easily accessible and securely stored for quick retrieval during crises.

 

  1. Space optimisation

Besides document management, professional organisers help streamline home layouts and storage solutions to accommodate emergency supplies, evacuation kits, and essential equipment. By maximising space efficiency, they ensure easy access to critical items during house moving or emergencies.

 

  1. Customised solutions

Additionally, professional organisers tailor their services to meet your specific needs and circumstances. Whether it’s designing a functional emergency kit storage area or implementing practical evacuation strategies. They provide personalised solutions to enhance your home preparedness. Hence, by partnering with home organising services, you can enhance your readiness for unforeseen events and minimise the stress associated with emergency situations.

 

  1. Peace of mind

By entrusting your home organisation to professionals, you gain peace of mind knowing that you’re fully prepared for emergencies. Professional organisers alleviate stress and uncertainty by implementing effective systems and protocols to safeguard your home and family. For example, they ensure that evacuation routes are clear and emergency supplies are easily accessible. 

Implementing Effective Emergency Preparedness Strategies

Evacuation preparedness requires careful planning and attention to detail. In addition to maintaining a comprehensive document binder, here are some essential tips to ensure a smooth transition during evacuations:

  • Develop an evacuation plan: First, identify primary and alternate evacuation routes from your home or workplace. Ensure all family members understand the plan and know where to meet in case of separation.
  • Pack an emergency kit: Second, include essential items such as water, non-perishable food, medications, clothing, and important documents in your evacuation kit. Don’t forget to include a portable document binder with copies of vital records.
  • Stay informed: Next, monitor local news and weather updates for evacuation orders and instructions. Follow official guidance from emergency management authorities and evacuate promptly when advised.
  • Communicate with family and neighbours: Finally, keep lines of communication open with family members, neighbours, and emergency contacts during evacuations. Notify loved ones of your whereabouts and safety status to alleviate concerns.

 

Moreover, home organisers like Little Home Organised can offer valuable insights and recommendations for optimising evacuation preparedness. They ensure that every member of the household knows their role and responsibilities in the event of an evacuation.

 

Read on or tune in to the Radio Podcast featuring Bonnie Black to discover additional emergency preparedness tips by experts.

Transcript

 

Katherine:

Now, one thing I learned from the flooding that followed Tropical Cyclone Debbie was just how important it was to be organised. We flood at our house here in Brisbane. We know this and we have a pump. Thought were prepared. When the rain started, we rushed downstairs to flick on the pump, and lo and behold, the thing had ceased. So, even though we were prepared, it just goes to show you’ve really got to stay on top of that organisation. So, how can we prepare for the next major natural event that is going to come? This is the state we live in. Brisbane’s Bonnie Black is also known as Little Miss Organised. She’s an expert member of the Australian Association of Professional Organisers. Bonnie, good day. Hey, how are you? 

Bonnie:

Good. How are you, Katherine? 

Katherine:

I’m good. How can we get prepared? We always know these things are coming, and we always seem to be caught out last minute. So how do we get prepared? How do we get organised? 

Bonnie:

Look, it’s mostly about having a plan, first of all. So, what I’d like to talk to people about today is the family emergency binder or the important documents binder. So, what to grab when we know that the floods are coming, when we know that we have to evacuate, what are the things that we’re going to need documents wise so that we can prove our identity and make insurance claims and all those things.

Katherine:

Because I like to think that I’ve got stuff up in the clouds stored up somewhere safe and sound. But I know a lot of my information might be actually in the hard drive of my computer. So if that goes, it goes and then scattered somewhere throughout the house. So, what are the docs that we actually need to locate and store safely?

 

Bonnie:

Look, there’s quite a few documents that we need in case of an emergency, but you can basically break these down into five different areas. Your first one might be your vital documents. This is copies of cards from your wallet, your driver’s licence, your Medicare credit cards, any immigration notices, your insurance, home contents, car insurance, life insurance, your rates notices, your gas, electricity, water, or your utilities, and then any important personal information. So, phone numbers, email addresses, addresses for friends, family, anyone in your professional network, so your children’s doctors, their daycare centres, anyone that you might need to notify in case of some event or emergency happening at your place. That all needs to come under that vital documents section.

Katherine:

The phone numbers one is key because I realised one day I left my phone at home, how I didn’t really even know the phone number of, well, I knew my husband’s, that was about it. So I was unable to contact my mum. Sorry, mum. But those little things that we can so easily overlook.

Bonnie:

Yeah. And look, these days with smartphones, we rely so heavily on the phone numbers that are stored in our phone. We don’t actually commit them to memory anymore. And I found out on Friday when our internet went down, I can’t just Google that anymore. I can’t just search for that number.

Katherine:

It’s scary how reliant we are on the phone. 

Bonnie:

Yeah.

Katherine:

But in the case of a flood or a fight, you won’t have power often, so you can’t switch on the computer and figure it out. So what else do we need to prepare? What else do we need to organise ahead of a natural disaster?

Bonnie:

So, also in your important documents binder or your family emergency binder, you want to have your medical papers, your legal papers, so your wills, your power of attorneys, any deeds and titles, any financial documents, so bank account statements, stocks, investment, superannuation, because these are the documents that you’ll need to help make those insurance claims and to help prove who you are when the floodwaters are receding and to just help you replace things that need to be replaced that have been damaged by flood or by fire.

Katherine:

So, you’re saying it’s good to have it stored in a folder, but then also, I guess, digitally elsewhere?

Bonnie:

Yeah, absolutely. So, having a small, maybe like an inch thick binder that you can grab when you’ve been told, Okay, it’s time to evacuate, you’re going to grab obviously a toiletries, spare pair of clothes, that thing. But that important document folder is also really important to grab with you as well. Having that digital backup and not just storing it on your computer, but having it stored in the cloud is essential as well.

There are things in our important documents folder, like our passports and our marriage certificates and those things that even though we might have a digital copy of them, a lot of places require that you have the original and you can go through so much trauma if you don’t have those original documents. So, that’s why having digital and the hard copy in an easy and accessible place is important as well.

Katherine:

That’s right. And my heart really goes out to anyone who has been affected by TC Debbie and the aftermath who may be in this particular circumstance, reeling from the loss of not only their property, but their personal information. The cleanup is continuing in Bowen, Earley. If anyone’s out there wanting to help, just head to emergencyvolunteering.com.au and see if you can get involved. But Bonnie, let’s talk about storms because that’s another natural disaster that we’re prone to in Queensland. What should we get organised with in advance of a storm?

Bonnie:

Look, everyone should have a Storm Kit. And in a Storm Kit, you need to have a radio that obviously can be battery operated with some spare batteries, of course, because if you’ve got no power, you still need to know what’s going on in the outside world. Because for me, for example, after the cyclone Debbie event, we woke up on Friday morning.

It was clear, beautiful blue skies. The water had all drained away. It was like, why is school closed? And then as the reports were coming in about other areas that were affected, it was just crazy what was going on in other areas. So, having that radio can really help you connect with what’s going on in other places, especially if you have family or loved ones that you need to keep up to date with what they’re doing and you’ve got no power to contact them.

That radio is really essential. And also in your Storm Kit, you need to have candles, matches, and tortures. If you’ve got enough time to prepare for a storm or for a cyclone, having your nonperishable items, your water, your tinned foods, all those things. A funny story. A few years ago, we were living in towns, where we’d only been there for about a week and there was a cyclone that was due to come.

And so my husband and I, being the cyclone newbies that we were, went to the supermarket and all the bread and all the water was gone. But what did we stock up on? Chocolate milk, ice cream, all the stuff that if the freezer broke down, we would actually not be able to… It wouldn’t last.

Katherine:

Yes. And it’s so easy to fall out of the habit of thinking about the reality. Even things like listening to some of the poor people out in Bean Lee who don’t have flushable toilet. This can be the reality of living after a major storm event, and it can go on for days. Preparation is key. What are some of the important phone numbers that you think we really need to have to hand in case of an emergency?

Bonnie:

Obviously, all the phone numbers for our family because you need to be able to notify your family that you’re okay, that you’re in an evacuation centre or wherever you are. Close friends as well might need to be notified too. If you’ve got no internet access and you can’t post on Facebook, Hey, I’m here. I’m okay. I’m alive.

You need to be able to contact people individually and have a bit of a phone tree set up so that they can then pass it on to other people that you’re okay and that you’re safe. Any doctors or specialists, those people, daycare, school, kingies, those are the places that you need to stay in touch with to say, My kids aren’t coming in today, or just find out what’s going on with them. And then, of course, your SES and your local police station just to call out for help if you do need it, if you are stuck. 

Katherine:

And I suppose once you’ve made those original steps in getting all of your things together, getting everything organised, it pays to keep checking on your suppliers. I mentioned my situation where we thought we were prepared and organised for the flood that we knew was going to happen, our garage and our pump had seized, and then we were left in the position of having to rush up the road to the hardware and grab another pump. Fortunately, a mate dropped by with one of theirs. If only we’d checked that our supplies that we prepared were in order, we wouldn’t be in the dillydally of a pickle that we were. I suppose that’s the other message, isn’t it? As part of being effectively organised.

Bonnie:

Absolutely. And so many people after this event will be thinking, oh, yes, I must do my Storm kit. Yes, I must put all those important documents together, but yet they’ll delay it and they won’t do it. And then the next event will come and they’ll think, Oh, I really wish I’d done it. So instead of regretting it tomorrow, just go ahead and take action today and get organised.

Katherine:

Absolutely. Wise words there and timely too. Thank you so much, Bonnie Black, also known as Little Miss Organised. Just quickly, how did you become to be so organised, Bonnie?

Bonnie:

Look, I think it’s a combination of genetics and I just can’t stand mess, to be perfectly honest.

Katherine:

Good on you. Well, preparation is key. Thank you so much for joining us here on ABC Radio Brisbane, Queensland.

Conclusion

Prioritising emergency preparedness is a proactive step towards safeguarding your home and loved ones. By embracing principles of disaster management, maintaining a comprehensive document binder, and leveraging the expertise of professional organisers and home organising services, you can enhance your readiness for any situation.

 

Remember, the key to effective evacuation preparedness lies in proactive planning and ongoing preparedness efforts. Therefore, by taking decisive action today, you can enjoy greater peace of mind and security tomorrow, knowing that you’re equipped to handle whatever challenges may come your way. Stay safe, stay prepared, and stay empowered.

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