Are You Prepared? Close your eyes and picture this: It’s 2:00 a.m. You wake up in a blur to hear your fire alarms going off and smoke filling your bedroom. You shake your spouse and quickly begin to panic because your children are across the hall. Can you get to them? If not, will they know what to do? Do you have a game plan?Emergency preparedness is not something many people talk about. Maybe because the term can evoke fear. Possibly because you don’t want to be labeled as a “prepper”. Regardless of your connotation to the topic, being prepared for emergencies is essential in today’s society. And to be clear, I’m not talking about doomsday scenarios. I’m focused on disasters like the one you just envisioned: unfortunate events such as fires, tornadoes, or floods.September was National Preparedness Month, so to bring light to the topic, Bob Harris from Game Plan Experts spoke at our recent client luncheon. Bob taught us four key questions to ask yourself when making an emergency game plan:What are you planning for? How long are you preparing for? Who are you planning for? How do you prepare? As I sat through Bob’s presentation, I thought to myself, “Wow, we aren’t prepared at all”. We need emergency kits, stored food and water, solar powered electronic devices… plans, plans, and more plans! (You can see how it can quickly become overwhelming!) Fortunately, Bob was able to ease those fears by guiding us through the planning process.What’s interesting (and for those of you who are clients, think about our puzzle), is that being prepared is a key factor in overall wealth management. At the center of our planning puzzle is “What Matters Most”. Isn’t that the same focus when preparing for natural and man-made disasters? You want to protect who and/or what matters most to you. On top of that, including “what-if” scenarios in your financial planning can ease your fears and provide a sense of control in times that can be chaotic.I’ll be the first to admit that emergency preparedness was never at the forefront of my mind. However, after listening to Bob and realizing how unprepared my family is in the event of a disaster, I’m now motivated to get prepared. To hold me accountable, here’s my to-do list:Practice fire and tornado drills at home, so my family is prepared if/when we’re put in that situation. (Practicing is key. The ability to remember and complete your escape plan in the midst of panic will be much easier if you’ve gone through the motions as a drill.)Create a safety checklist for our home (gas/electrical shut-offs, emergency kit locations, evacuation plans, etc.)Learn my community's emergency management plans.Do you have an emergency game plan? You can download Game Plan Experts' ICE Communication and Home & Safety Preparedness checklists here. I challenge you to complete these exercises and make your own to-do list. Start small. Maybe it's simply learning the emergency plans of the places you visit most (work, school, church), or preparing your home with devices to be used if you lose power or need to evacuate quickly. Being prepared doesn't have to mean you purchase a bunker underground to live in for the next 20 years! It can simply mean taking small steps towards protecting your family for whatever comes your way. To learn more, visit Game Plan Experts or contact your local government office. View in FEMA Multimedia LibrarySources:Johnson County Emergency ManagementFEMAGame Plan ExpertsYou are under no obligation to use the services of any of the entities shown and may choose any qualified professional to provide any of the services described above. These entities and their services are not affiliated with LPL Financial and BridgeQuest Wealth Strategies. Steph Whitehill As Office Administrator, Stephanie is your main point of contact for scheduling, email and phone correspondence, and general customer service.