This editorial is sponsored by OnStar.

Black people are not a monolith, but there are specific cultural nuances that pretty much exist across the community. For example, if you ever need a copy of an important document (i.e., birth certificate, social security card, marriage license, etc.), don’t look for it to be in a special case. The keeper of those documents will likely have them in a folder or bag tucked under the bed.

Those not intimately connected to the culture may find this process less than efficient, but it is how many people in the culture keep essential documents safe. And in the case of an emergency, there is no question about where to look.

While many of the processes associated with preparedness have evolved from the one above, it is important that people have plans to ensure that all ducks are in a row if and when life happens. The onset of the pandemic emphasized the need to stay stocked up and ensure you always have everything you need.

Although COVID-19 put a microscope on people’s needs to stay ready, there have always been events and moments that put people into a frenzy. If you live down south and it snows, stores will have limited bread, milk and eggs. It’s as if a snowstorm means unlimited breakfast. For those who live in traditionally colder states, the summer months send people into a panic scraping for water and any other means of hydration.

No one anticipates being in an emergency, but the fact is – things happen. As each of us endeavors to navigate the craziest puzzle ever created, the jigsaw of life, check out five ways you can keep preparedness at the forefront of your mind.

Non-Perishable Food Items

Many people are more intentional about the types of foods they eat. Therefore, canned and bagged food have slid down the totem pole of food priority. However, it is a pretty good practice to keep a canned item or three in the pantry in case there is a situation that arises where fresh food can be easily prepared.

First-Aid Kit

Who doesn’t need a bandage every now and then? A handy first-aid kit will be beneficial if you’re doing outdoor activities, have kids around, or are generally not friends with gravity. Most kits have pain medicine, ointments, bandages and more. It is pretty much a one-stop shop for minor medical maintenance.

Power Sources

The weather can do whatever it wants to do. And in doing so, power outages can become a real thing. If that’s the case, the flashlight on your cell phone will only last so long. Having items like candles, generators, flashlights and portable chargers is clutch in times of unplanned darkness.

Emergency Contacts

Someone needs to know who to call if you fall victim to tragedy. Using your phone to set up your “in case of an emergency” contacts eliminates the guesswork of who needs the first to know if anything significant goes down.

An Escape Plan

The characters from scary movies and thrillers may be fictional, but it does not discount the need to know where every exit is in your home and the places you frequent IRL. Having a plan in your mental bank is cool, but also having a written plan that lists doors, entry points and even windows can be helpful if things go awry.

Whether the incident that’s bound to hit your life is centered around geography and the weather, or if your homie needs some roadside assistance on the way to brunch – you should always be ready and prepared for what life throws your way. As one of the most clutch cultural sayings goes: if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.

This editorial was sponsored by OnStar. Whether a crash, crisis or an emergency, OnStar Advisors are ready to help 24/7. Visit onstar.com to learn more.