With all of the recent earthquake activity in the area where we live in the last week my daughter and I were having a discussion about the countless ways it seems mother nature seems to be trying to do us in. This led to the need to be ready for an emergency stemming from any number of natural disasters or disasters in general that could happen. Any disaster can be scary but being prepared can help things be less scary. Be prepared, not scared. I wanted to share just a few of the ways you can help yourself and your family be prepared for an emergency.
MAKE A BASIC DISASTER SUPPLIES KIT
A basic emergency supply kit is recommended to and should have in it the following items:
- Water ~ You should have one gallon of water per person per day, with a minimum of a three-day supply. water is needed for drinking and sanitation.
- Food ~ You should have enough non-perishable food for three days per person.
- Radio ~ You should have a battery-powered or even better hand crank radio and a NOAA (national oceanic and atmospheric administration) with a tone alert and enough extra batteries for both.
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- A whistle to help signal for help
- Dust masks, plastic sheeting, and duct tape in case of a shelter in place emergency.
- Moist towelettes or hand sanitizer for personal sanitation.
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- can opener that is not electric
- Local Maps
- Solar powered cell phone charger or power inverter for the car , and a cell phone charging cord.
Some other emergency things you may want to include are below
- Prescription Medication
- Baby formula and diapers
- Pet food and water
- Cash, change, or travelers checks
- A water-proof portable container for important family documents
- sleeping bag, warm blankets, or even an emergency blanket
- clothing change
- fire extinguisher
- Matches in a water-proof container
- feminine supplies
- mess kit
- paper and pencil
- quiet activities that can be done with the kids
- Regular bleach with no additives
An idea for storage that works is buckets with lids, or even a new large size rolling garbage can with a tight lid. These usually have handles making it easy to grab and move with you if needed.
Also remember the climate in your area and plane accordingly with that. If you live in a cold area remember warmth, if you live in a hot area think cold.
HAVE A PLAN
Already having an emergency plan put together makes it easier for you to focus on putting that plan into motion and leaves less room for panic because you will already know what needs to be done. Make sure to include the entire family when coming up with your plan that way everyone is included and will know what to do if the time comes to act fast and safe. Everyone will have a part in getting through an emergency safely and together.
Know what natural disaster risks are possible in your community and surrounding areas that way you can come up with a plan that will be able to be put into motion to cover any number of different disaster that could happen.
Remember your family emergency plan should include what to do in an emergency whether you are at home, work, school, or any other various places in your community you may be. Also know where to meet should anyone get separated from the rest of the family.
Every family member should have assigned responsibility in an emergency and know what it is so you all work as a team, things will go much smoother this way. Also if everyone has an assigned responsibility and is handling that it keeps the focus on that and makes avoiding a panic that much easier.
Coming up with the plan is only part of being prepared. Practice makes perfect, and if you make a plan but to practice it then when an emergency does arise family members may be less focused and more panic and then forget the plan. With practice everyone will be confident in their role and make it easier to quickly do what needs to be done to ensure safety for everyone.
KNOW YOUR LOCAL AND LONG DISTANCE CONTACTS
Many emergencies or disasters can separate families and loved ones when they need one another the most. The Red Cross has a registry to help you let loved ones know you are safe.
phone: 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767)
If you need to you may pick more than one contact and you should choose one in your state outside of your community and also one out-of-state if possible. When trying to find loved ones after a disaster or emergency be persistent and don’t give up, keep trying.
- call in off-peak times
- text, sometimes a text may get through when calls fail
- check social media
- leave notes on local bulletin boards
- check shelters, hospitals, and etc.
These contacts also give loved ones one person to call to check on your well-being and allows you to stay focused on the matter at hand and not on the off the hook ringing of your phone. This person can be told where and how you and your family are to ease other loved ones concerns.
CHOOSE A MEETING PLACE
Have a designated meeting place in case of separation or if you are not together when a disaster happens. Always pick both a community meeting place and a regional one. Meeting places give you a place to reconnect outside of home if needed.
KNOW ESCAPE ROUTES
Know each escape route from your home and if possible you should have two escape routes from each room. Know how to get out of your home quickly, and pick a spot outside away from the house to re-group. If your home is more than one story investing in escape ladders will give you a safe way to escape out a window on the second floor if your way down to the first floor is blocked.
KNOW HOME HAZARDS
Ordinary things in your home can be additional dangers so be aware of what these might be ahead of time.
- secure heavy items on lower or bottom shelves
- shelves, tv’s, grandfather clocks, bookcases, and water heaters should be secured to the walls.
- don’t hang heavy pictures and mirrors about beds
- store flammable things away from the house when possible
Paying attention to where possible home hazards in your home are and securing them could save lives should an emergency or disaster happen.
FIRST AID & CPR
Taking first aid and CPR classes is always a good idea, then you are properly trained should the need arise for either of these in an emergency. Learning first aid and CPR now could save someone’s life later.
REMEMBER YOUR PETS
Pets are family too, so plans need to include their safety, care, supplies, and well-being too.
Remember, having your family sit down together and come up with an emergency plan is only part of being prepared. In order to ensure that your family knows the plan well in case of an emergency, and that they don’t forget their tasks if you should have to put your plan in motion, practice your plans regularly. Practice ensures that the plan is well-known by all.
I hope these are helpful in your own emergency planning! Good Luck!