Why written emergency plans (EP) are better than just having one on your mind
Terrorism attacks, accidents or natural disasters can occur any time and if you are unlucky enough, leave you dead or in a hospital and in a dire financial situation. Fortunately, most emergencies are somewhat foreseeable such as flooding, wind and solar storms and hurricanes and to some extent, health problems. As it were, constant disaster preparation is a life philosophy of every prepper, and one of the ways to prepare for an emergency is to have a logical emergency plan for you and your family.
The purpose of this post is to analyze why written emergency plans are better than just having one on your mind. But before we even go there, why do you need to plan for emergencies in the first place?
Having said that, we can now agree that emergency plans are too important to be stored in memory or on your phone or laptop. You need to put it in writing for the reasons discussed in the next section.
Below are some reasons why hard-copy emergency plans absolutely rock:
Keeping your EP in hard copy and making enough copies for everyone enables them to quickly check what to do or who to contact in an emergency. On the flipside, keeping emergency phone numbers or procedures in your memory may cause panic when, in the face of disaster, you forget some numbers or steps. As a matter of fact, it is quite hard to focus or remember things in such occasions. Additionally, when your family members are not privy to your plan, they might get panic attacks or get hopeless when faced with a calamity, which can, in turn, affect your psyche and your reflexes.
It is even worse if you keep your plan on your phone or computer as it could go off exactly when you need it the most. You might also not be in a position to access your electronics and as you know, emergencies and time wait for no man. With printed copies, which by the way should always be in your and every other family member’s sight, you won’t have a problem with communication and managing disasters as they happen.
When you write, your brain is focused on the act of writing and strives to create a logical flow. As such, you are able to write what’s on your mind without filtering any thoughts. Most importantly, old-school writing (using pen and paper) will help you remember disaster preparation concepts that you’ve learned whether from life experiences or government programs. You will also retain knowledge by noting it down as your brain will go into overdrive trying to decide the words to use, committing to long-term memory in the process. In an unfortunate situation, you will be able to remember at least some parts of your plan even without referring to the binder.
When it comes to emergency planning, we recommend that you first write all your concerns and aspirations in case of emergency on a draft paper then compile them into an organized document.
When you plan things in your head, the chances are that you won’t be able to see any faults in your thoughts. On the other hand, when noting down your plans, you can always review later to check for mistakes and do corrections. In this context, you can do further research and consultation with experts, authorities and your family and compare their thoughts, opinions, and suggestions with your plan. Also, keeping a hard copy of your emergency plan close to you gives you the chance to read it over and over at different times and with time, you might be able to see some mistakes you overlooked and amend them in time.
As mentioned in the first point above, the act of writing focuses your thoughts on one idea at a time. Sometimes, as you jot down a fire management strategy, for instance, you can almost ‘see’ a certain thing or action in your mind that would be convenient in such a situation, such as an available door for quick exit.
Depending on the clarity of the mental image, you can make a drawing to show how one can move from different rooms in the house to the exit door and on to safety. Whether you are a good artist or not, as long as you can focus on a single image and make a draft, it can always be improved and polished by another person. Furthermore, it would be easier explaining to your family the movements and procedures to follow in case of a disaster using images and drawings as opposed to only words
Keeping everything to yourself or on your phone, which probably requires passwords for every action, will only make things difficult for your people in case something bad happens to you. For one, they probably won’t be aware that you had an emergency plan in the first place. Secondly, if they can’t access your plan, they will come up with their own which could be ineffective due to panic. Sadly, statistics from the US government show that only 33% of Americans have communication plans in case of emergencies.
In essence, by writing a comprehensive emergency management plan in an easy to understand manner, you not only make things simpler for yourself but to your family, neighbors, and friends too. They will know exactly what to do in case of anything and everything and who will be in charge of what, thereby minimizing confusion, chaos, and stress.
It is often said that failing to plan is planning to fail and as a prepper, it’s hard to argue with that. Emergencies and disasters are messed up by themselves. You don’t want to add disorganization and disorder to it. Create a plan for such occasions, put it down on paper and circulate it to every member of your family and close friends. With that, you will be able to at least minimize the disastrous consequences of those bad days on you and your family’s lives.