How to stay calm and focused in any emergency, large or small

Apr 21, 2022, 3:24 PM | Updated: Apr 27, 2022, 9:58 am
Photo credit: Canva...
Photo credit: Canva

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SALT LAKE CITY — When Utahns think about emergency preparedness it’s generally in the light of the big problems that are possible here. For example, an earthquake or wildfire, flood, or blizzard.

That said, emergency preparedness can come in handy in everyday situations, as The Arrow’s Jon Smith found out this week. He shared what he learned about the value of emergency preparedness with Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson.

Disruption of routine in an emergency 

“I live out in Tooele County,” Smith said, “and our power had gone out about 3 a.m.”

Smith wakes up early to DJ a morning show on KSL NewsRadio’s sister station, the Arrow. So waking up early didn’t throw a wrench into his routine. 

Turns out the power going out didn’t throw a wrench either, because, Smith said, he was prepared. He knew where his lamp was, and that helped him get ready and out the door.

It’s a small example. However, knowing where the lamp was and knowing it was sufficiently powered made all the difference, he said.

The anxious feeling of not knowing what to do first can waste valuable time in an emergency, small or large. No matter the size of the problem, having a system, or hierarchy of needs, helps keep us calm and helps to keep things in perspective. Especially, Smith said, when you are responsible for other people.

For Smith, the hierarchy of needs looks like this: Food, water, medicine; heat; shelter; light, power; and finally, transportation. This may look different for different people.

The other thing that can help keep your mind calm and focused in an emergency is having checked the segments of your hierarchy that may need an update or replacement.

For example, if you have a note on your calendar or on your phone to check the expiration date on your emergency food, or, to replace your stock of emergency batteries, knowing you have taken care of these tasks will be a relief if an emergency presents itself.

The importance of communication in an emergency

Another important aspect of preparedness is communication, Smith said. Imagine that your family is split in five different directions if that big earthquake hits. They are surrounded by other people who may or may not be prepared, how do you keep them safe in that situation?

“We have a safe spot that we go to,” Smith said. “We have safe people that we can go to if we can’t get to each other.” 

Smith and his family have words, that once used, are known by the children that there is a real emergency. 

“People tease me, but I’ll tell you when I didn’t have to wait in line for toilet paper … when I didn’t have to worry about the earthquake in 2020, or the power outage after the wind storm, or this morning when my power went out … suddenly, it’s not so funny.”

For more information or tips, visit the Be Ready Utah website.

Related Story: Leaders in Davis County tell residents to prepare for another Utah drought



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How to stay calm and focused in any emergency, large or small