El Pasoans have been seen two very frightening situations over the past year. The August 3 Walmart massacre and the coronavirus pandemic, two emergency situations that require some planning to deal with. The Walmart massacre was sudden and shocking and in a situation like that, you suddenly have to find your family members to make sure they're ok. Texting, calling, Facebook check-ins - those are ways we all tried to get in touch with our loved ones when we heard the news about the shooting on that horrible August day last year. When the COVID-19 pandemic began hitting, it was like watching a slow motion car wreck. We had some time to stock up on, well, toilet paper, among other things. But what is the best thing to do in an emergency? What do you really need to have at your fingertips to be prepared?

The El Paso Office of Emergency Management has put out information about what you'll need to have ready should there be a sudden development due to the coronavirus pandemic:

1. Have a Plan - If your child is at school or with a relative, know how to get in touch with them in case of an emergency or evacuation.

2. Be on social media - Very often a breaking story is first posted on social media. Click here for Twitter links for news stations, school districts, and law enforcement. Follow them so you can jump online for up-to-date info.

3. Prepare - Make a list of medications and allergies you and your family might have. Print multiple copies and take a photo of the list so you have it on your phone. When something is happening, you don't want to have to scramble to remember who is allergic to what or what their medications are. Have a getaway bag ready with batteries, a flashlight, a couple of phone chargers, and a little bit of cash. Don't dip into the bag. If you need it, you don't want to find that it's empty.

4. Keep Your Information Updated - Your child's school, your child's caregiver, and even your employer should know who to call if there is an emergency.

If this sounds paranoid or panicky, just think about the last time you had to rush your kid to the ER. I had a bout of low blood sugar when I first began working at KISS and no one knew who to call to come get me and take me home. Emergencies are always unexpected. Be prepared so they won't overwhelm you.

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