It has been a long time since I had a momentary feeling of complete helplessness. That feeling that comes when an event is unfolding near a friend or family member when you are far, far away from them and in no position to provide help or assistance. Working as a consultant I often have to travel to a remote client locations for work which means I have to trust that while I am away, everything will be OK at home.
It wasn’t until I had a family of my own that I began to finally understand the some of the apprehensions about traveling colleagues have shared with me. I believe all people who travel for business come to grips with this concern. A concern that can only be resolved by putting your faith (either consciously or unconsciously) that what will be, will be whether I am there or not. I hope that by sending positive energy out to the universe everything will be OK until I return. This is how I am able to leave for days at a time and focus on the job at hand.
When I first became a father I couldn’t imagine not being there for my son very minute of the day. I eventually learned to trust our nanny as she took him shopping, out to play dates and eventually school. The same holds true when I travel. I have to trust deep down that my son has my wife, our nanny, his teachers .. all of whom can be there to help guide and protect him in my absence.
These feelings of insecurity however, all resurfaced yesterday when I received a Twitter message from CNN Breaking News saying that a plane crashed in the Hudson River. I immediately went to the CNN.com site and saw the live feed of the plane floating down river just blocks from my home. What made matters worse was that I was unable to reach anyone at home. Fortunately, my worst fears were abated when I learned that the plane had not struck any buildings as I first feared and that everyone on the flight was rescued and brought to safety.
So while it is good advice not to live in fear of what “might” happen, I would equally recommend that by being prepared you can make a bad situation more manageable. Here are a few suggestions you might want to consider implementing with your family:
- As a family, agree on a place to go if there is an emergency. This can include making an agreement with a nearby friend, a relative that you can come to their house if some disaster strikes and one of you needs help.
- Have an agreed communication plan. If phones are down and you are unable to connect to the internet to check mail, agree on a friend or relative (outside your immediate area) whom you can communicate with and relay information.
- If you have small children, make sure that their name and your phone number (preferably cell phone #) is stitched into their clothes
- Have an emergency bag packed with basic supplies (i.e., water, protein bar, change of clothes, flash light, extra batteries, portable radio [self-powered model], cash [lots of singles and small denomination bills]). Keep the bag small. If you have to move quickly, don’t pack a bag that is too heavy for you to carry. I use a simple Jan-sport water resistant backpack.
- Have pictures of each member of your immediate family with you that you can share with police and emergency workers if the need arises.
Like I said, living in fear is unproductive and a waste of energy. Being prepared however can give you piece of mind. If you have helpful tips on how to help your and your family to be safe during an emergency, please feel free to share them with us by posting a comment to this article.
Be safe, be prepared.