Do I Have To? The Woes of Emergency Preparedness

The preparedness search is on

How Prepared Are You? And For What?

I hope no one ever asks me these questions. I have a terrible time with preparedness. A lot of my job circles around preparedness organizations, emergency services, and disaster information. And yet… my disaster preparedness consists of half of an expired go-kit that is currently sprawled helplessly in the garage staring accusingly at me whenever I go out to get firewood. Luckily that will be solved once it’s summer and I don’t need fires anymore, but I’m worried that eventually I won’t be able to shove my guilt to the back of my head any more.

So Why Can’t I Get My Preparedness Rear in Gear?

Thought overload

Partly, it’s overwhelming. There are a lot of things out there to prepare for, from financial setbacks and job loss, to floods and wildfires. When sitting down to think through the details of each of these scenarios, my brain starts making choking sounds and shuts down until revived by all the remaining chocolate from my emergency stores. It’s difficult, not to mention disheartening to think about how to find the items and prepare all the go-kits for each possible scenario.

I can’t anticipate everything, so why try?

During the flood in 2013, I couldn’t help but think that what I really needed was a suit of medieval plate armor, so that it would protect me from the lightning while I was digging trenches outside to try and protect my house. Number one, how would I have known that before hand and number two, how would I fit a suit of armor in my go-kit? (NB: do not dig trenches in a lightning storm even if you are well-endowed with armor. It is a TERRIBLE idea. Shelter inside.)

I’m not Chicken Little

I don’t want to go around glooming and dooming all the time. I like not needing a preparedness kit to go to the movies or the grocery store. Somehow I feel like spending a lot of time on preparedness is going to lock me into a disaster-focused mindset that frankly, I’ve been trying to get out of for the past three years. I would rather not feel guilty that I’ve squandered my emergency chocolate on brain revival. I’d rather just enjoy the heck out of it.


But… What Do I Do Instead?

Preparedness is not not a good idea. I’m sharing my own mental blocks in case you see anything familiar, and also to tell you what I’m doing about it. I’ve been interviewing preparedness groups and teachers around the county to feature on our website this month. I am really impressed by their dedication and by the diversity of their approaches. Some are supported by their towns, some are purely grassroots. The way these preparedness initiatives are structured is highly dependent on their location, and who or what is supporting them.

I have been so inspired getting to know more about these groups that I am taking a new stab at my own efforts. I’m breaking preparedness down into baby steps and tying it to daily routines: emergency document backup will happen every week when I backup my website and design files. I hurt myself running the other day and used it as inspiration for refilling the first aid kit in my go-kit. The co-chair of the Boulder County VOAD, Aaron Titus teaches workshops on a more step by step process, which is described in more depth from his work with the company Good 360:


So find the silver linings in your own preparedness process, and stay tuned for more inspiration from others around the county. Shoot me some info on what gets you to be prepared and how you do it and I’ll send you some emergency chocolate. I’m not sharing mine.


Yours resiliently,


Project Coordinator: VOAD and Resilience Networks