How are you preparing yourself for disaster?

We train others to be ready for events like hurricanes and earthquakes; why not ourselves?

Editor’s Note:

Editor's note: The winners of last fall's HHS personal preparedness app challenge have been announced. Check them out!

The contest was originally reported on EMS1, and now the feds have now released information on two winning apps that can help friends and families connect through Facebook when major catastrophes, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, strike. This development is especially critical to EMS providers.

Like other public safety personnel, we are expected to respond to these incidents, even while off-duty. So when the disaster affects us personally, it becomes even more crucial that we can maintain communications with our families, relatives and friends, or at least feel more confident that someone else outside the disaster zone will be able to track them down.

I know that many of us do not prepare ourselves for what happens after the event. We train others to be ready; why not ourselves?

Do you have a communication plan with your family? Where would you meet up if the home is destroyed or you're unable to make it back there? Do you and your family have water, food and shelter for 3-5 days? Where are additional medications being kept, along with important papers?

What are you doing now to prepare yourself and your family?

About the author

Art Hsieh, MA, NRP teaches in Northern California at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. An EMS provider since 1982, Art has served as a line medic, supervisor and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook writer, author of "EMT Exam for Dummies," has presented at conferences nationwide and continues to provide direct patient care regularly. Art is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Contact Art at and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

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