I’m an optimistic guy. I always look at the bright side. All clouds have a silver lining. Chatting to some friends last week, they wondered how someone who was as optimistic as I am could be so involved in working with emergency preparation. They were asking if I was being pessimistic – always expecting the worst. That set me thinking… While I’m an optimistic guy, I believe that sometimes luck goes the way of those who have prepared. It’s not a case of hoping or even expecting things to go wrong but if it does even the smallest preparation will help. So tell me… Would you buy a car without seatbelts? Would you get on a ferry with no lifeboats? Would you stay in a hotel which you knew had no fire exits? I’m guessing, like me, you said ‘no’ for all three! Not because we are pessimistic… but because we understand there is a risk and certain precautions mitigate those risks. Similarly, having preparations in place for emergencies both at home and at work is important. They do not have to be as dramatic as lifeboats, but sometimes small things – A first aid kit, an emergency contact list, or a “power-outage” kit can make a big difference. I’m going to highlight that emergency contact list again – it’s a small preparation but can be a big help. Write it down, type it up, or use the I.C.E approach, whatever works for you. It could be a list of contact details for relatives to be contacted in case of an emergency (maybe just to let them know you are alright); or a list of neighbours that you might check in on. It might be a list of suppliers or organisations that could help if your home or office was flooded. Sometimes a little preparation goes a long way. And if it’s not needed – well, isn’t that great news!  By Fintan Breen