Lawyers spend a lot of time preparing for their careers. Most have spent 12 years of primary and secondary education, four years of college, and three years of law school for a total of 19 years in preparation. And, for most of us, becoming lawyers has worked out well; we can support our families and ourselves, contribute to our communities, and lead comfortable lives.
When it comes to preserving and protecting our families, our practices, and ourselves, however, studies by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, and other organizations indicate that most people, including lawyers, do not prepare adequately for disasters and emergencies. The next time we fall into the modern “cone of uncertainty” of an approaching hurricane’s path, we undoubtedly will worry, is this the one that will hit us?
Of course, hurricanes are far from the only disaster or emergency that we may experience. Frequently occurring, low-impact and duration events abound, such as minor motor vehicle accidents, petty theft, short-term power or water outages, minor medical or first aid incidents, tropical storms, and isolated food supply disruptions. High-impact and duration events, although less frequent, may alter our lives or even end them, including hurricanes, school shootings, terrorist attacks, pandemics, wildfires, major crimes, and nuclear attacks or accidents. We and our families are exposed to those risks, both here in Florida and while traveling outside the state.
Consider the immediate and longstanding suffering of those in the Panhandle after Hurricane Michael, which recently was upgraded to a Category 5 tropical cyclone and devastated that area last fall. Many of our colleagues, their families, and their law practices will be adversely affected by that hurricane for many, many years.
Despite the well-known risks, the excuses for lack of preparation are legion, among them:
• A disaster or emergency probably won’t affect me;
• I don’t have time to prepare;
• Preparation is too costly;
• I don’t know how to prepare;
• I plan to evacuate before it gets here;
• We’re too far inland to be affected;
• The government and charities will take care of us if anything happens, and on and on.
It is an axiom of disaster and emergency preparedness that if we wait until the disaster or emergency is imminent, it is too late to prepare. As each hurricane approaches our shores, consider the masses of humanity always seen waiting in long lines at their local grocery store, gas station, and hardware store as a storm threatens their homes and businesses. The procrastination of waiting until the last minute to prepare frequently correlates with its ineffectiveness.
We are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation (305) 927-5551