Monday, July 2, 2012

From the Editor: Are You Prepared?

It’s been a tough week for the Pikes Peak Region. The Waldo Canyon fire destroyed more than three hundred homes (including that of at least one PPW member), killed two people, and displaced thousands more. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this devastating event.

Local media outlets have provided extensive information about preparing for emergencies, and especially evacuation situations. No matter where you live, I hope you’ve been paying attention. Emergencies can happen any time, anywhere. Are you ready?

Here are just a few of the many online resources to help you prepare:

·      Register for reverse 911 notifications

·      Colorado Springs Emergency Preparedness and Safety Guide http://www.springsgov.com/Files/Preparedness%20Guide10_web.pdf

·      Emergency preparedness guidelines from the Federal Emergency Management Agency

·      Fire mitigation guidelines:

Firewise Communities

Pikes Peak Wildfire Prevention Partners

Colorado State Forest Service

·      Community Emergency Response Training

One thing that writers need to consider is how to protect manuscripts, works-in-progress, research notes and materials, and business records. When an emergency happens, you may be unable to return to your home or office to retrieve computers, files, books, etc. What will you do then?

Take a good hard look at your office space. What documents and electronic files are irreplaceable, or could not be re-created, if they were lost?

Now, go back up your computer files and make copies of important papers. Store everything in a secure location away from your home or workspace. Be sure to update these off-site backup files regularly.

It may be difficult to think about writing right now, when so many people are struggling with the effects of this fire. But consider this: When writers are under stress, they either shy away from writing until life settles down, or they plunge into it as a coping mechanism even in the midst of chaos. Either way, wouldn't you want to resume writing as soon as you can?

The more you prepare for emergencies, the better - and more quickly - you will be able to recover from them.

Please keep sending positive thoughts and prayers to those who are going through such a difficult time.


Robin Widmar
Managing Editor, Writing from the Peak