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Readiness 101: Five Steps to Success

It's time for the Friday Five and this week we are getting straight to business. It seems we can't go a single day without news of another natural disaster, from catastrophic floods in Western Europe to record-setting typhoons in Asia, and raging wildfires across the U.S.

Now, I get it, as the audience of the 24-hr news cycle, many of us are worn out and tuned out so these reports might feel like too much to handle. But before you stop reading, consider this...

We have a choice about what this type of information does for us. It can do one of two things:

  1. It can exhaust us and make us feel hopeless, or

  2. It can empower us and give us a reason to start making changes.

Which will you choose?

Before you decide, let me also add that the more you start making those changes and allow yourself to feel empowered, the less this type of information will exhaust you in the future.

Easy choice, right? So, where do we start?

If you caught my latest post, you've heard me say this but I am repeating it because it's so darn true! Starting out your readiness journey is a lot like starting a new fitness/health program, so the steps for getting started might seem familiar to some of you. You might also feel a familiar sense of dread, doubt, or worry that it might be too hard.

Fear not. As your personal (preparedness) trainer, I am here to support you every step of the way. Now let's get started!

Step 1: To get to where you're going, you gotta know where you're starting.

  • Just as you might note your weight or conduct a strength and mobility assessment before starting a new training program, you need to understand your starting point to chart your path forward.

  • Specifically, you want to understand:

    1. What are your risks and vulnerabilities, based on where you live, who you live with, and the personal needs of everyone in your household? and

    2. What are your existing strengths and weaknesses, capabilities, and concerns?

For help understanding your starting point, check out my free Ready or Not? Resilience Assessment here.

Step 2: Get specific about your goals.

  • Specific goals help us target our efforts and minimize overwhelm.

  • Based on what you learn in Step 1, identify the weakness and concerns that you want to address first and start there.

  • Don't worry about accomplishing everything at once.

  • Make a list of the things you want to address for yourself and your family and approach them one at a time.

  • For example, maybe you want to start by establishing your family's meeting point should you get separated during a disaster.

For some ideas on where you might want to start, check out my Road to Resilience Road Map.

Step 3: Make a plan

  • A goal without a plan is just a wish.

  • Once you have identified your initial focus, it's time to build a plan.

  • Starting with a basic emergency plan is a great idea. You can always establish disaster-specific plans later, should you think you need them.

Need help getting started? Check out my Basic Emergency Plan template here. It's a fillable pdf so you can maintain the document electronically, share it with your family, and update as needed.

Step 4: Exercise

  • The only way to build muscle is to use it! Exercise is key! But not that kind of exercise :)

  • Emergency exercises allow you to test your plan, confirm its accuracy, and also get familiar with it.

In Emergency Management, we call these "table-top" exercises. I like to call the at-home versions "counter-top" exercises. 
  • To do this, imagine a hypothetical emergency scenario and talk through it with your family or household using the plan.

  • Encourage everyone to participate, ask questions, and learn about their roles in supporting emergency response.

  • To take it a step further, consider how you might integrate drills (like fire or evacuation drills) into your family's emergency exercise plan.

Want expert help in testing your plan and helping your family exercise those muscles? Contact me at for a free consultation.

Step 5: Stay Committed

  • Like any wellness endeavor, the results you achieve will directly correlate to the consistency and quality of the effort you put in.

  • Readiness and resilience are cultivated over time. There is no quick-fix solution.

  • Remember, the readiness and resilience you develop for you and your family have an impact that stretches far beyond the four walls of your home. Your efforts are the first drop in what I like to call the "Ripple Effect of Resilience".

Congratulations! By even reading this blog post you are a step ahead in the right direction. Stay connected and stay committed. Subscribe at for access to free resources, new blog posts, and early access to new services coming soon!

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