The timing of preparedness


Note: Some of this article is obviously geared toward personal preparation, but a certain amount of preparedness items apply to your business, too.

Here in Virginia, we just received a record snowfall, and that brought life here to a virtual standstill, once the snow actually started falling, that is. To be properly prepared is more than having supplies and materials to withstand the interruption of our daily routine, though. It’s also about timing.

Yes, you can exist without some things temporarily, but if you time it right, you can get what you need and be thriving, instead of just surviving.

Take milk, for instance, or cream for your coffee. Can you get by without it? Of course! But do you want to? Probably not. Sure, you can use the powdered varieties of both, but they are not as good. Yes, you won’t be able to have milk if a disaster lasts for weeks, but in the case of short-term disasters, wouldn’t you rather have milk than not?

This is where timing comes in. If you look at the photos of stores in DC before the storm, you’ll see stores with empty shelves. You’ll hear and read about desperate people buying items they would never buy if there were other choices available. So, how do you avoid this?

First, you have to be prepared for basic needs of food, water, and shelter. Then, consider the “nice to have” things such as fresh milk, fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh meats. These are things you have to get at the “last minute.” But when should you buy these?

To know the right time, you must stay informed! Watch the news, listen to the radio and check the internet. We have more ways today than ever before to get the latest information on pending disasters, especially weather-related disasters. This will allow you to better time your purchases.

You must also allow for the freshness of the products you are purchasing. Sushi, for instance, has a very short timeline for eating safely. Fruits and vegetables all have various freshness lives. Milk or cream, though, has a longer life. Time your purchases accordingly.

In my experience, from hurricanes in Florida, to ice-storms in the Midwest, to blizzards in the North and Eastern US, I’ve found 2-3 days prior to the storms arrival date is the best time to get the fresh items. But definitely avoid purchasing anything after 5:00 pm on the day before the storm! That’s when madness will take over.

Even orderly and civil people can get rude and angry. I once experienced a woman who, obviously agitated by a cell phone conversation she was having, violently slammed a shopping cart into the brick wall of the store’s entryway! She narrowly missed hitting another woman entering the store.

As an employer, keep in mind the safety of your employees. Try to give time for personal preparedness, as well as business preparedness. And also plan for the possibility that some or all of you may be stranded at work.

Stay safe, plan ahead, and prepare accordingly. Have basic preparations always. Keep track of the news. Plan your last shopping trip accordingly and stay away from unpleasant, and potentially dangerous, situations.


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