10 things to help get you Semper Paratus

Semper Paratus takes on a new meaning during Personal Readiness Month. It means more than being ready for a search and rescue case. Personal Readiness Month is the Coast Guard’s way to remind everyone – active, reserve, auxiliary, family and friends – to really think about being ready.

To do this, we’ve compiled a list of 10 things you can do to ensure you’re ‘Always Ready.’

1. Get annual physicals

Petty Officer 3rd Class Amber Degouveia, a health series technician assigned to Coast Guard Base Alameda Medical, administers the intranasal flu vaccine to a Coast Guard member while at the Base Alameda clinic Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. To maintain mission readiness, Coast Guard personnel are required to receive the annual influenza vaccine during the required vaccination period. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena)

Petty Officer 3rd Class Amber Degouveia, a health series technician assigned to Coast Guard Base Alameda Medical, administers the intranasal flu vaccine to a Coast Guard member while at the Base Alameda clinic Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. To maintain mission readiness, Coast Guard personnel are required to receive the annual influenza vaccine during the required vaccination period. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena)

It’s best to know more about your body so you can better care for it. Visiting a doctor can determine if you need to make changes in your life whether that means brushing or flossing more, getting vaccines, eating differently or focusing on the correct intake of vitamins such as calcium, iron or potassium.

2. Stress management and fitness

Petty Officer 1st Class Raymond Concepcion, a member of the Sector Hampton Roads Boarding Team, demonstrates box jumps Sept. 24, 2015 at Base Portsmouth. Concepcion was part of a week focusing on Maritime Enforcement Specialist workouts. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup)

Petty Officer 1st Class Raymond Concepcion, a member of the Sector Hampton Roads Boarding Team, demonstrates box jumps Sept. 24, 2015 at Base Portsmouth. Concepcion was part of a week focusing on Maritime Enforcement Specialist workouts. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup)

CG SUPRT Employee Assistance Program provides a stress management program for active duty members and dependents, reservists and civilian employees. The program assists with resolving personal problems and life challenges before they negatively affect your health, relationships with others or job performance.

CG SUPRT also provides health coaching to help eligible members with overcoming barriers to achieving weight-loss goals through lifestyle changes. You can contact the program 24/7 by calling 1-855-CGSUPRT (247-8778) or visit www.CGSUPRT.com.

3. Travel planning

Lt. j.g. Tim Veach takes a ride in a classic sports car Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, in Virginia Beach, Va. The City of Virginia Beach held a parade and ceremony to honor the service and sacrifice of veterans. (Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup)

Lt. j.g. Tim Veach takes a ride in a classic sports car Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, in Virginia Beach, Va. The City of Virginia Beach held a parade and ceremony to honor the service and sacrifice of veterans. (Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup)

The holiday season is fast approaching and that means more traveling to visit friends and family. The Department of Defense provides servicemembers with a travel-planning tool known as Travel Risk Planning System, more commonly known as TRiPS. This platform is an automated risk assessment tool developed to help mitigate risk and reduce fatalities among personnel driving a motor vehicle or motorcycle outside their local area. Before you start your trip, make sure to visit TRiPS or the Coast Guard’s own Shore Safety website.

4. Just Reach Out

A suicide awareness ribbon is worn by a Coast Guard petty officer, Sept. 10, 2015. September is National Suicide Prevention Month. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Sarah Wilson)

A suicide awareness ribbon is worn by a Coast Guard petty officer, Sept. 10, 2015. September is National Suicide Prevention Month. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Sarah Wilson)

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

Suicide is a complex public health issue, and no single factor leads to suicide. We can all take actions to support someone in crisis by “being there.” Check in with family members, friends and acquaintances, and really listen.

Learn the signs of crisis and determine whether that person should be in touch with sources of care and support.

Become familiar with suicide prevention resources. There are several military suicide prevention programs available including the Coast Guard’s suicide prevention program, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Veteran’s Affairs Crisis Line, which provides a 24/7 confidential Crisis Line that can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

We all play a role in suicide prevention.

5. Check your emergency kits

Assemble disasters supplies to include water; food; radios; extra batteries; maps and phone chargers. Don't forget to have supplies for unique needs as well. U.S. Coast Guard graphic.

Assemble disasters supplies to include water; food; radios; extra batteries; maps and phone chargers. Don’t forget to have supplies for unique needs as well. U.S. Coast Guard graphic.

Go through your emergency kits and replace and/or replenish expired items.

If you don’t already have an emergency kit now’s the time. Ready.gov can help give pointers on what to stock up on in the event a hurricane, flood or other natural disaster strikes.

If you have an emergency kit, make sure your supplies are not expired. If you used your emergency kit, make sure you’ve restocked it.

6. Have a plan and practice

Make a plan. Include your specific health and safety needs when creating your emergency plan. Ready.gov/myplan. Brought to you by the Ad Council and Ready.

Make a plan. Include your specific health and safety needs when creating your emergency plan. Ready.gov/myplan. Brought to you by the Ad Council and Ready.

Maybe the kids were too young to understand the plan when you went over them last year, now’s a good time to review and practice. Did you move to a new home recently? It’s time to make a new plan.

Think about how your family would communicate if the phone lines and WiFi went down. Do you have external batteries to charge your phones? Are you in a flood zone? Make a plan to evacuate and make sure you have a plan for your pets. Know where you can go with your pet(s) if you had to leave your home.

Plan, plan, plan – it’s the only way to truly be Semper Paratus.

7. Know how to get news and weather updates after a disaster has struck

The National Oceanography and Atmospheric Administration services a 24/7 All Hazards radio network to provide updates on weather information. Graphic provided by NOAA.

The National Oceanography and Atmospheric Administration services a 24/7 All Hazards radio network to provide updates on weather information. Graphic provided by NOAA.

Federal, state, territorial, tribal and local alerting authorities can use the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System to provide public safety alerts and warn the public about serious emergencies. You can sign up to receive these alerts through your state’s website.

Another great resource for information during a disaster is through radio. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio All Hazards network broadcasts continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service Office 24/7. The network covers all 50 states, adjacent coastal waters, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the U.S. Pacific Territories.

8. Update insurance plans

Insurance is a way to protect against a possible eventuality. Be sure look over vehicle, medical, rental and home insurance papers periodically for any changes that may need to be made. U.S. Coast Guard graphic.

Insurance is a way to protect against a possible eventuality. Be sure look over vehicle, medical, rental and home insurance papers periodically for any changes that may need to be made. U.S. Coast Guard graphic.

If you’ve recently moved to a new home, make sure you are aware of the risks associated with the area in which you’ve moved to. Some areas are more prone to flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes. Make sure you have taken note and have adjusted your insurance accordingly. This will help with the recovery process if a disaster strikes.

9. Update wills, beneficiary and financial paperwork

Coast Guard legal assistance can help with wills, power of attorneys and more. Take advantage of what they offer by visiting your local Coast Guard legal assistance office. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Diana Honings.

Coast Guard legal assistance can help with wills, power of attorneys and more. Take advantage of what they offer by visiting your local Coast Guard legal assistance office. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Diana Honings.

Coast Guard legal assistance attorneys are available to provide advice and counsel regarding personal legal issues to servicemembers, dependents and retirees each year at no cost. Take advantage of these resources to update personal identity and vital documents; powers of attorney; healthcare and medical directives; survivor assistance and benefits; and estate planning and funeral arrangements.

Financial arrangements should also be considered. Prepare you and your family by periodically checking debt and credit reports as well as overseeing your income, savings and investments. Have you thought about retirement? Take a look at the Thrift Savings Plan or look into other retirement plans; don’t wait until it’s too late.

Visit your local Coast Guard legal office to complete the Personal Readiness Plan so you and your family are taken care of.

10. Stop. Think. Connect.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A Coast Guard Information Systems Technician adjusts cables inside a server room at the Telecommunication and Information Systems Command (TISCOM) Jan. 24, 2013. ITs are responsible for establishing and maintaining Coast Guard computer systems, analog and digital voice systems (telephones and voicemail), and installing and maintaining the physical network infrastructure that ties the systems together. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Luke Pinneo

A Coast Guard Information Systems Technician adjusts cables inside a server room at the Telecommunication and Information Systems Command (TISCOM) Jan. 24, 2013. ITs are responsible for establishing and maintaining Coast Guard computer systems, analog and digital voice systems (telephones and voicemail), and installing and maintaining the physical network infrastructure that ties the systems together. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Luke Pinneo

With Cyber Awareness Month coming up, now is the time to review the information shared on your social media platforms. Personal identity information such as your full name, social security number, address, birthdates, phone number or where you were born can provide predators easy access to your information.

Many platforms allow you to check in with geotracking. Be careful when allowing this function as it could invite unsavory characters to your home when they know you’re on vacation.

While you think your account is locked to the public, some posts can still be obtained publicly. Remember future employers may look at your social media accounts before hiring you. Questionable content may make you seem unprofessional and can damage your reputation or future prospects.

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