INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
At hour four of what was supposed to be an eight-hour trip, my steering wheel began to uncontrollably shake, my drive got bumpy and my low-tire pressure light turned on.
In that moment, I realized after an emergency happens it’s too late to get prepared.
Instantly, my trip turned into misery because my plans were setback 5 hours and $200.
Like myself, many Airmen get caught up in our lives and forget to “be ready” on a personal level, but the planning process used by members of the 39th Civil Engineer Squadron readiness and emergency management flight, who prepare for any incident that could impact the installation, can be used by everyone.
“Preparedness is key to surviving an incident and getting back to life as normal,” said Staff Sgt. Jude Stueckle, 39th CES operations EM. “You never know when a disaster or incident will happen. All you can do is set yourself up before hand for dealing with it.”
Maybe if I was more prepared at 19, I would have remembered to put my jack in my car or saved enough money to purchase new tires months prior, but I didn’t.
Although my experience was with minor car troubles, my lack of preparation could have been easily avoided by following simple steps.
“Little things like having a kit, emergency action plan and being aware of the threats and dangers in your area can set you up for success and survival,” said Stueckle.
According to the EM, your plan for any situation no matter how big or small should always include prevention, response and how you will recover if all else fails.
From there you should find supplies that fit in your scenarios, like food, water, medicine, an on-call bag or even office supplies.
Equally as important as getting supplies is creating and managing an inventory of your supplies and equipment that you regularly check to prevent items from being used up, lost or broken when you need them most.
Once a plan is made and supplies and equipment are gathered, all members involved should know the plan, their role in it and be trained on it regularly so if a situation arises they are ready at a moment’s notice.
Even professional preparers do this.
“We train constantly for an all-hazards response mission,” said Stueckle. “Whether this means suiting up and running drills, or instructing base populous on their CBRN [chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear] and Disaster Response Force training.”
Plans aren’t always sealed tight so it’s important to go back, reevaluate and shift your plans if need be after training exercises or real world incidents go over what went well, what could have been better and answer questions.
Every Airman should put in effort to be ready for situations we hope never happen because being prepared can save you valuable time, excess money and worldly worries.
I now know it’s better to learn and be prepared now instead of learning the hard way and putting yourself in a tricky situation.
If you’re unsure about how to be prepared contact your local EM or visit www.beready.gov.
I believe the words of Benjamin Franklin put it best, “if you’re failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.”