Noble McIntyre on September 11, 2014
Often, we only think about how prepared we are for an emergency when there is a sense that an emergency is about to happen, or when it already has. However, how you fare in a real emergency might depend on how prepared you are ahead of time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are promoting this September as the 11th annual National Preparedness Month. Let’s take a look at what you and your family can do to be prepared for an emergency:
An emergency kit (or “disaster supplies kit”) is a collection of items that you should have on hand in the event of an emergency. If a natural disaster happens, many stores could either be closed or they could be sold out of the essentials that everyone needs at the same time. If you have these items readily available at home, it saves you from having to locate them when an emergency occurs. Have enough supplies in your kit to last for at least 72 hours. Here’s a list of the basic supplies that FEMA recommends:
As well, consider the specific needs of your household and the people in it. You might want to have the following items available as ready-to-grab items if you need to evacuate quickly:
If disaster strikes, you might not be at home with your family. Especially if cell phone towers are not working and other phone utilities are unavailable, you want to know in advance how you would contact each other, how you will get to a safe place and what to do in different situations.
Choose a family member or friend who lives out-of-state who you can contact in case of a localized emergency. Sometimes, if there’s a local emergency, you can call out of state more easily than you can call local numbers. Let each family member know who that person is and have that person’s phone number handy at all times. Text messages can often get through network disruptions when phone calls cannot, so teach all family members how to send a text in an emergency. Each member of your family should have a cell phone or a prepaid phone card that can be used to call the out-of-state contact if necessary.
Know what the emergency plan is at each family member’s work, school, camp or even along his or her commute. Most schools and workplaces keep emergency contact information on file, but your children should have your phone number memorized, and should know at least the names of their physicians. FEMA has a handy printout where you can keep all of your emergency information.
We’d all like to think that a disaster won’t happen in our community, but there are all kinds of hazards out there, and it’s wise to be prepared. Physical safety should be the utmost concern, and you should know how to take shelter or follow an order to shelter-in-place. The other requirement in a disaster could be to evacuate your home or community.
It’s impossible to imagine every scenario that could occur, but there are ways to be prepared so that you can manage each in the best possible way. Be safe out there!