What a week it has been! At this time last week, I was driving down to Rockland County, New York on the first absolutely beautiful spring day we’ve had, expecting to appear at a trial later that day. My student intern and I were having a great conversation, and the drive was smooth and uneventful. As events turned out, I found myself (and my intern) driving back down to Rockland County on Wednesday. By the time we were on our way home, life as we knew it was quickly beginning to unravel. Her college made the move to online classes for the remainder of the semester, and in the coming days everything else quickly followed with closures and cancellations coming too fast to keep up with.
I have two school-age children, and the disruption to routine of everything they know (school, sports, music activities, etc.), combined with the disappointment of event cancellations (hello, NCAA March Madness right here in our hometown!!!) has been difficult to deal with at times. Trying to keep some sense of stability and routine is so important, but another step families can take to help kids, small and big, cope with these rapidly changing circumstances and uncertainty is to take the necessary steps to ensure you are prepared for emergencies. It is empowering and helps reassure loved ones to know that there is a plan, and that even if the plan has to be modified, they can know what to do in an emergency. We always talk about weather preparedness on this blog, but I thought it might help you and your families to go over some resources that exist for all types of emergency preparedness.
The Federal Emergency Management Association has numerous resources to help you and your loved ones before, during and after emergencies. You can visit this website for preparedness resources for all types of situations. Of course, if your community needs assistance, this agency will step in under emergency declarations such as those we are seeing all over the nation right now.
Of course with the current coronavirus threat, the Center for Disease Control is an important resource. On their website devoted exclusively to COVID-19, you can find information about the current status of the disease by state, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you believe you or a loved one are sick or have been exposed. There is much misinformation spreading wildly on social media, so it is especially important that you get your information from a reliable source. Your state Departments of Health are also great places to turn for specific information as it relates to your state and county.
Ready.gov is a partner site of many federal agencies and is devoted to creating prepared and resilient communities. Here, you will find information about many types of disasters and emergency situations, information about how to make a family emergency plan, as well as a site devoted to helping people ensure they are financially prepared for disasters. Also, there is a great area which is specifically geared towards kids and teens. This resource may be helpful to those of you with families as you try and navigate this situation with younger children, and older ones as well. Maybe one activity you can do with children during their time off is to make an emergency kit for your home and your car, if you don’t already have one.
If you are in need of assistance, the American Red Cross is always there to help. Currently they are scheduling blood drives around the nation in anticipation of the increased strain on our medical system that will inevitably result as this outbreak progresses.
Weather Ready Nation
We also would like to remind everyone that the weather continues at ALL times, even during a national emergency. Please remember to visit NOAA’s Weather Ready Nation website to make sure that you have a plan and know what to do when hazardous weather strikes. Your National Weather Service federal employees continue to do their job around the clock in support of their mission to protect lives and property. You can continue to refer to their website for up-to-date watches and warnings.
We wish all of our readers the best during this outbreak and in the upcoming months as we recover medically, socially, and financially from this worldwide pandemic. Remember that being prepared ahead of time is empowering, reassuring, and a practical way that you can take care of yourself and your loved ones even when you don’t know what the upcoming days will bring.
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay well, and we look forward to communicating with you via this blog in the coming weeks!