As a teacher, I am well-versed and well-practiced in emergency management plans. We meet as a faculty at the beginning of every school year and we learn the latest procedures and dialog through possible scenarios. We exit the meeting armed with detailed plans and signs, to be at the ready in case of an emergency. We then drill each plan throughout the year to iron out any problems and ensure that there is some about of automaticity to the procedure in case it actually has to be implemented during a true crisis.
I’m sure many of you have a similar situation at your work – you know what to do and where to go in case of fire, tornado, earthquake or, unfortunately, crazed gunman. You hope to never need those plans (and try to skirt around the thought of any of those events actually occurring), yet their mere presence offers some measure of comfort.
Because when we are in a true emergency, it is difficult to think. To process. When some level of decision has already been made in calmer times, it helps to ensure a basic level of operation in the heat of the moment and frees the mind to tackle the situation at hand.
You have emergency plans in case of fire.
Or zombie apocalypse.
Or maybe even a traffic jam that leaves you unable to get to daycare before closing.
But do you have any emergency plans in case of a personal crisis?
A medical emergency.
A job loss.
Or just a I-can’t-take-it-anymore breakdown of undetermined origin.
Maybe you should.
We don’t like to think about those events happening. We don’t want to consider tragedy affecting our families. But, as we know, just because you want to think about it happening, doesn’t mean it won’t. And the reality is that al of us will face one or more of the above in our lifetimes.
So be prepared.
Create your own personal crisis plan while you are not in crisis.
Who will you call?
Where will you go?
What do you need to have at the ready?
If it is a protracted situation, what needs to happen to simply carry out daily life while the emergency unfolds?
Be specific. Your plan needs to leave no room for doubt in the moment.
Create structure. In crisis, we often need every step spelled out.
Address possibilities. The more thinking you do ahead, the more apt you will be to respond well in the moment.
Write it down. Sketch it out. Create a spreadsheet or a diagram.
And then tuck it away in a file, either electronic or tangible.
And in case of emergency, open file.