It’s crucial to prepare for life’s uncertainties, unfortunate events, and occasional adversity with the thoughtful development and deliberate implementation of an effective approach to risk management.

An effective approach to risk management offers:

  • A reduction in the number and severity of adverse life events
  • The minimization of consequences incurred when events do occur
  • More rapid and effective recovery from all types of adverse events
  • Greater peace of mind during the many good times

Consider the below steps as you build out your risk management plan:

Step 1: Identify your personal vulnerabilities 

Each person’s vulnerabilities are unique and different. Similarly, the vulnerability of each family member is different. Consider the following questions to help define your and your family’s vulnerabilities.

  • How disciplined are you and each family member?
  • How healthy are you and each family member?
  • How error-prone are you and each family member?
  • What specific medical conditions are you and each member of your family susceptible to?

Step 2: Identify your external threats

Each person’s individual or family threat environment is unique and different. Take the time to reflect upon and assess your personal and family threat environment. Consider the following questions:

  • Where do you live? What unique threats exist in your living environment?
  • Where do you work? What unique threats exist in your work environment?
  • What career choice have you made? What unique threats exist due to your occupation?
  • What sports, hobbies, and leisure activities are you involved in? What unique threats do these activities pose?
  • How many family members are you responsible for? To what unique external threats is each person exposed?

Step 3: protect your home 

Protect your home by doing the following: 

  • Test fire alarms. If required, change batteries on a fixed periodicity.
  • Test CO monitoring. If required, change batteries on a fixed periodicity.
  • Install home security cameras.
  • Install a formidable, fireproof safe for valuables and essential documents.
  • Mount fire extinguishers in areas of high fire risk.

Step 4: protect your data

Protect your identity and prevent access to your personal data and assets by doing the following:

  • Utilize an antivirus software (e.g., McAfee Security).
  • Employ an online access password protection software (e.g., LastPass).
  • Use a VPN service to guard your location (e.g., Express VPN).
  • Employ safeguard software and activate application controls to limit access by vulnerable persons (e.g., children) to potentially harmful content. 

Step 5: Maintain Emergency supplies

Plan and prepare for external threats to the home or workplace that require evacuation (e.g., fire, flooding, domestic abuse). Be prepared to evacuate your home quickly and, potentially, never return.

Store and maintain a supply of the following emergency items in a “grab and go” kit:

  • Battery charger(s) for mobile phones 
  • Hand crank powered flashlight 
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate
  • A pair of sturdy shoes
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and supplies
  • One gallon of drinking water per person
  • Sustaining nutrition bars or similar
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children
  • Tent 
  • $1,000 cash in small bills and quarters 
  • Your personal ID, wallet/purse, mobile phone, prescription, and pets

Step 6: Practice family response to targeted emergencies

Conduct a walkthrough of your household’s response to emergency events. Be sure to include one event that requires either home sheltering or evacuation. During this exercise, verify that each household member knows and/or can perform the following:

  • Their role in the event of an emergency
  • Each person’s capability to execute each assigned task (preferably through demonstration)
  • The whereabouts of all emergency kits and stores

Step 7: Review and update your risk profile and risk management plan  

Your risk profile and the associated needs of family and friends change with time. Reflect on the changing circumstances within your risk profile and adjust your contingency plans as required. With the output of this review, update your risk management plan and associated levels of preparation. Make changes as necessary. 

An effective approach to risk management may not eliminate your fears, but, when completed correctly, will most certainly reduce them. Peace of mind awaits your action, so get busy!

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