As I write this blog post, Hurricane Harvey is barreling into our country (Texas). The news footage is filled with scary scenes of people either fleeing for their lives or else digging in and trying to weather the storm. Either way, having prepared in advance could make the difference between life and death. This thought had me contemplating some ways we can all be better prepared for the future.
Create a disaster plan. – Think through what would be most important if you had to leave your house suddenly, possibly never to return. What would be reasonable to take with you? It is prudent to have a backpack stocked with some food and water. It is also wise to have important documents copied and kept in this pack. I’m sure we’d like to take it all, but you may only have time to grab what is handy and reasonable to carry. What if you were confined to your house for a lengthy time? Be sure to have water, canned goods, medications, and batteries in enough supply that you could survive for at least a few weeks without leaving your home.
Take a CPR class. – Generally this suggestion won’t save your life, but it could be the difference between life and death for someone you love or even a stranger that is in medical distress. Check out various places in your community that may be offering training – the library, fire station, or churches sometimes offer classes. There are even online classes, although I would strongly recommend taking a physical class at least the first time so that you can practice chest compressions on a CPR dummy. Even after taking a class, you may feel fearful to put your knowledge into action. You may not move through the steps in perfect form, but at least you’ll have a better idea of what you should do. How horrible to have to stand around helplessly because you’ve never taken a class and have no idea what to do.
Carry a medical card in your wallet or purse. – I work in the healthcare field. Part of my job is to update people’s medical histories. When I ask patients what medications they are taking, more often than not I get incomplete lists. Some people know what condition they need to take medication for, but cannot remember the name of the drugs they are treating it with. I’ve actually had patients pull a pill out of their pocket and show me, like I’d have any clue what it is. I’ve encountered a number of men who answer my question with a shrug and say, “I don’t know what I’m on. I just take the pills that my wife sets out for me!” I’ve also had people tell me one or two medications and then end with the statement, “I think that’s all you need to know!” All medications have potential for cross reactions, including supplements. Non-prescription medications do count, as even an 81 mg aspirin can change bleeding time. My best advice is to make up a medical card that you can carry with you and update it frequently. You can alternatively keep a list on your smartphone or even take a picture of the prescription bottles. If you ever are in a serious health crisis, you may be too flustered to think through what you are taking or you may not even be able to talk. You can write out your medical info on an index card or you can create one online. I just made one up for free through CVS Pharmacy – https://www.cvs.com/drug/wallet-card-report.
Have an eternal plan. – Finally, as a Christian, I would be remiss to not advise that you think beyond this life. Although most people’s bodies don’t live more than 100 years on this earth, the Bible tells us our souls live forever (John 5:28,29; Luke 12:20; Matthew 16:25,26). What good does preparing for temporary disasters do, if you aren’t prepared to meet your God (Amos 4:12)? We may suffer setbacks for not preparing for natural disasters or health emergencies. Our lack of preparation could ultimately result in our or someone else’s death, but failing to face the consequences of our sin will assuredly send us to a place of torment that we’ll never be able to escape (Mark 9:42-48, Luke 16:19-31). When a hurricane threatens to destroy us, authorities tell us to flee to safety. When our sin threatens to destroy us, God (our ultimate authority) tells us to flee to the safety of His own Son (John 3:16-18; Romans 8:1). We don’t have the resources God requires to escape judgment. It is only through the gift of life that God’s Son, The Lord Jesus Christ, provides for us that we can ever be safe from the fury of the wrath of God (Romans 1:18; Proverbs 11:4; Psalm 2:12; Ephesians 5:6; John 3:36). Take heed! Don’t wait for another day!