Crisis Support — How to Help When the Unexpected Intrudes

crisis plan checklist

A plan really helps in a crisis.

The word crisis – it conjures many images, doesn’t it?

Maybe it’s as far-reaching as a hurricane or earthquake, harming hundreds and sending shock waves around the globe.

Or maybe it’s as personal as a health crisis for you or a family member. Or perhaps it’s an animal companion in sudden need of first aid.

Whatever it is that suddenly appears and demands your immediate attention, it helps to have already developed a plan.

Time is at a premium in emergencies. So, to put time on your side, one fundamental key is preparation. Below are 3 steps to help you be as ready as you can be when a crisis strikes.

Step #1: Open to life’s unpredictability.

Establishing priorities, productive routines, and work rhythms is very helpful. But sudden change can shatter schedules in a moment. This awareness serves you well when it heightens your alertness without creating undue alarm. When you plan, consider contingencies. Don’t let them turn into worries; just keep them in your peripheral awareness, ready to tap if needed.

It also helps to affirm your capacity for flexibility. You probably have had to let go of careful preparations any number of times when confronted with the unexpected. Take a moment to bring one or two examples to mind. Appreciate your agility, then identify:

  • Energies and inner resources you called on to meet each challenge;
  • Strengths that helped you move forward, along with what you learned and how you grew; and
  • What you assimilated, making you more nimble in the face of life’s next reversal.

Step #2: Establish your personal first line of support.

We’re all different. So, what’s supportive for one person in a crisis may not be for another. Find time to discuss your needs frankly with friends, family members, and co-workers who may assist you in a time of need. Here are some points to consider:

  • Who is willing to step in?
  • What do they feel comfortable providing? Be as specific as possible.
  • Keep track of updates as circumstances change.
  • Think about how you might help another. Be aware of, and realistic about abilities and strengths you bring to various situations.

Step #3: Organize your affairs in case you need a hand.

Advance planning is essential. Below is the start of a checklist that you can build on over time. Keep it in a safe and accessible place, and make others aware, as necessary.

___ Phone numbers and e-mail addresses of key people to contact in case of an emergency. This list may include your first lines of support, such as family members, close friends, doctors, vets, babysitters, and work contacts. Share this information as needed. Also, be sure to review and update your list periodically.

___ Consider introducing your close neighbors to those who might enter your house to help out if you are ill or absent. This prevents confusion later.

___ Be sure that legal documents are in order. These may include Health Directives, possibly a DNR, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, medical authorization forms, and insurance papers.

___ Have available clear care instructions for any dependents in your household.

___ Assure that all sensitive documents regarding your finances and health are stored securely, whether on your computer or in a fireproof box or safe. Give keys, combinations, and passwords only to those you trust completely.

___ What other things will you need in an emergency? Are there food items you’d want available at all times? Would it be helpful to pack a small overnight bag you could grab quickly? Have you checked your fire extinguishers or thought recently about what you and your family would do in case of a fire?

Remember, things keep changing…

Please feel free to adapt these ideas. As you modify and use them it will become an increasingly reliable and useful resource for you.

Expanding the breadth of your vision to include life’s uncertainties grounds you in reality. Alert and aware, you are prepared for contingencies and even more appreciative of life’s simple, everyday gifts.

And for more help…

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