September is Emergency Preparedness Month, and for many of us, it’s a time when we think about all the things we haven’t yet done to get ourselves, our families, and our businesses prepared for an emergency. After all, just like any organizing or productivity project, getting prepared for an emergency takes time and effort – or does it?

Know that like getting organized, being prepared is a process – sure, you can go to the store and gather all your supplies, but there’s always more that can be done, always more to prepare. Don’t worry about getting things perfect – just get started. In fact, there are a number of things that you can do RIGHT NOW to start the process of being more prepared.

Text to connect. In a major disaster, cell phone service may be down or networks may be completely overwhelmed. Text or call your local relatives, loved ones, and friends to set up a place to meet in the event of an emergency. This should be a spot that’s easy to access via foot, in the event that you’re unable to drive or if public transport is unavailable. It would be a good idea to choose a spot that isn’t near tall buildings, as they may leave shattered glass on the ground.

ICE it. If you’re incapacitated, it’s important that emergency personnel know who they should alert. Emergency personnel are trained to look for a special entry on your cell phone called ICE, which stands for In Case of Emergency. In your phone’s address book, create a new entry for ICE and put in all the people and phone numbers you’d want called if there were an emergency and you couldn’t call yourself.

Call 911 – or not. 911, the go-to number for emergencies of every stripe, will probably be completely overwhelmed in a catastrophic situation, so relying on 911 may not be your best bet. Every police station, fire station, and hospital has a regular, non-911 phone number that will likely be much easier to get through to in a wide-scale emergency. Look in your phone book or call your local stations, and then enter the non-911 phone numbers for police, fire, and ambulances in your cell phone.

In total, these three steps should take you less than 10 or 15 minutes. Of course, these are not everything you need to do to get prepared for an emergency – but they are a start!

Author's Bio: 

Joshua Zerkel, CPO® is the founder of Custom Living Solutions, a San Francisco-based productivity and organizing consulting firm. Joshua specializes in helping busy entrepreneurs save time, be more productive and make more money by getting organized at home and at work. Visit for your FREE copy of “The Top 12 Mistakes to Avoid when Getting Organized”.