Posted by: Michael Widomski, Public Affairs
You’re familiar with the candy hearts with the sayings, “Be Mine,” “Cutie Pie” or “Sweet Talk.” What if there were hearts that read “Be Prepared” or “Get Ready”?
Every year on Feb. 14th, the streets are usually filled with people carrying flowers and boxes of chocolates.
This Valentine’s Day, why not think outside the candy box and truly demonstrate your devotion by helping loved ones be prepared? Think about it. In the end you’ll also be helping yourself by ensuring that the ones you love are around for a long time to come.
So, how can you do this?
All of us here at FEMA have provided some suggestions below that we believe will be much better than a balloon-shaped heart (which eventually deflates) or the conventional dozen red roses (which eventually wilt and wither). These items pair well with any Valentine’s Day plans.
- Give your main squeeze a disaster supply kit to go with the chocolates you may have already bought; get started with one gallon of water per person per day for three days, and a non-perishable food supply per person for three days. Disasters can strike faster than cupid’s arrow, and if your loved ones aren’t prepared, they won’t have time to get the supplies they need in the midst of the chaos of a disaster. What better way to show your love than to help your sweetie prepare?
- If you’re feeling less romantic or are more family-oriented this Valentine’s Day, consider preparing all the loved ones in your life for the unthinkable. When you’re at dinner, tell your family you’d like to sit down together afterward to create an emergency plan. Some things you should discuss are where to meet in an emergency and who to contact. You won’t regret this quality time spent planning to protect your family.
- Do you send a greeting card or bouquet of flowers to your mom each year? This year, follow up with an in-person visit, and help them to winterize their home or vehicle. Use this holiday to fulfill the promise of visiting more often, and at the same time you could also help your whole family learn about their risk to flooding and how to reduce it. Spring flooding is just around the corner, but it’s never a bad time to reduce our risk to life or property that is brought on by the onslaught of floods.
- If you’re getting into the Valentine’s spirit and want to share the love with your community, this might be a good time to get involved with emergency management training or to join a local volunteer organization. For example, you could get your CPR certification or volunteer to bring meals and preparedness information to seniors. (HINT: This also makes for a great date idea, and you’ll impress your date with your thoughtfulness of others).
- Finally, if you normally buy treats for your four-legged friends for Valentine’s Day, continue to buy them treats…they don’t even realize what Valentine’s Day is. However, this is an opportunity to be selfish and take the steps needed to ensure your pets are prepared. Keep supplies on hand for your pets such as food, water, and medication. Don’t forget, faithful companionship is a two-way street. They show you love and affection all the time…you should do the same in return and ensure they are prepared.