Emergency Preparedness, A Home and Family Safety Conversation
Talk and plan with your family for potential disasters. Explain why it’s necessary to prepare for them. Involve each member of your household in the planning process. By talking about, reviewing and practicing simple steps that can increase everyone’s readiness, it can help reduce anxiety about emergencies. Below, a list of important areas is provided to discuss and plan and use as a guide to keep your loved ones informed and ready if a disaster should strike.
Make sure all of the home members know where to find your disaster supplies and emergency kits, if you have them. (What is in a survival kit? This is another topic that should be closely looked at.)
A good idea is to have a flashlight and a pair of shoes under or by everyone’s bed in case there is an earthquake during the night. Another idea is to use a plastic bag or other container attached to the bed to keep basic or personal emergency supplies from moving during an earthquake.
Discuss and determine the best escape routes from your home. Try to identify two escape routes from rooms as well as from the home.
A family should plan where to meet after a disaster or emergency if your home becomes unsafe or if you are scattered after an emergency. Choose two places, one just outside your home and one outside your neighborhood in case you are told to evacuate.
The drivers in the family should keep gas tanks at least half full at ALL times.
With today’s technology it should be easy to make sure each member knows who your family or friend’s near-your-home, out-of-city, & out-of-state contacts are and instruct them to call these people and tell someone where they are. It is a good idea to prioritize and agree upon a few contacts that everyone will use in case of an emergency.
In a family meeting discuss and identify the gas main and other vital utilities and make sure family members know when and how to turn them off.
Practice, practice, and practice more. Review, review and review some more. The family should schedule and set regular review and practice times to go over your evacuation routes, Stop, Drop & Roll drills, Duck & Cover procedures as wells as updating and rotating perishable emergency supplies.
Strategically place fire extinguishers at key locations in a home and garage. Teach each member of your family how to use a fire extinguisher and how to fight a fire with water.
In addition to the families’ electronic devices and smart phones it would be a good idea to create emergency response cards for each of your family members. Keep these in school bags, purses or wallets as well as a copy in each vehicle.
Take into account the special needs of small children or older adults. Are there family members that don’t speak English, pets, or family members that are disabled or who have specific special needs?
There may be other areas that your family needs to address. However the items above will get you started in the right direction. The fact that you are reading this means you are taking the right steps. Being prepared does NOT just happen, it is an intentional process. Nor is preparation a one time thing, but something that must be revisited periodically and hopefully at regular intervals.