This is a story about the time I was totally unprepared - and how I learned to be ready for next time. 

Before I get started, I feel it’s important to point out that I recently moved to a new apartment – and while that’s not a good excuse for not having my emergency kit ready to go, I feel like as a Red Crosser it’s an important explanation.

I live in a nice sunny apartment on the 15th floor. Usually, this is a very nice thing. However, over a recent weekend it proved to be rather difficult. 

I got home to see the power was out in my building. The first realization that this was going to be a trying time was when I remembered that elevators use power and 15 flights of stairs is a lot. After getting a pretty good workout, I got to my unit and discovered that not only was the power out – there was also no water at all. Looking around, I realized that we were almost entirely unprepared for an emergency like this.

1st thing I learned: Emergencies can happen at anytime, anywhere you have to be ready. In moments like this, the Red Cross Be Ready app is a fantastic tool because it can give you important information and doesn’t even need cell service or an internet connection.

Moments after I finally caught my breath from my stair climb I heard a rather indignant meow. You see, in my previous home, my cat’s needs were a part of our emergency kit, but now I saw that he needed his water dish refilled. Luckily I had some water left in my water bottle, so I didn’t have to immediately head back down the stairs.

2nd thing I learned: Remember to include everyone in your family (including fluffy friends) in your emergency plans.  For us that means making sure having enough water and non-perishable food for us and our cat, for others it might include things like medication or diapers.

In about 48 hours everything was back to normal, power was restored, water was restored, and hot water a little later after that. We were very lucky that this power outage was only an inconvenience; it could have been a lot worse.

3rd thing I learned: There’s no reason to delay putting together an emergency kit.  If you don’t have time to put one together, you can always get a preassembled one.  I’m glad to say that my family (cat included) are now ready for the next time!