How to Prepare for Any Emergency
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No one wants to think about disasters, but let’s face it — they do happen. And what will happen to your family, your pets, or your home in the event of a natural disaster or a house fire? Even though we don’t like to think about these things, the better we prepare for them, the greater chance we have of survival and preservation.
How Will You Communicate?
According to Homeland Security, one of the most important things to establish in case of an emergency is communication. Make a plan of contacting every family member in case you are not all in the same place when something happens. In other words, will Dad send out a group text while Mom calls the kids’ schools? Establish the plan ahead of time so you can ensure that everyone is contacted and discuss with each family member the importance of replying to those messages.
Establish a Safe Place
Find a safe place for your family to meet in the event that communication lines are down. Everyone should practice getting to this place from where you live or where they work. If you have young children in school, the meeting place will more than likely be there, since they will be unable to leave the school’s grounds on their own. Make sure everyone in your family knows where this designated place is and knows how to get there quickly.
Organize Your Family’s Essential Information
In a crisis, you may not have time to start gathering the information you need, such as insurance cards, spare keys, phone numbers and other important papers. That’s why it is important to organize them ahead of time. Storing all that information in an online storage system such as Dropbox or Google Drive, but you also need to have a file or binder you can quickly grab in case you don’t have access to it.
Find out the types of emergencies possible in your area, such as flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes. Knowing which events are most likely in your area will help you plan more effectively. For example, if you live in an area prone to tornadoes, your emergency supplies might best be kept in your basement or storm shelter. Learn the differences in the weather alerts your community offers and their recommendations for seeking safety in those situations.
Build an Emergency Preparedness Kit
Having an emergency preparedness kit ready will help you to be ready in the event of any size disaster or emergency. The kit should contain the binder we talked about with important information. But it should also consist of other essentials:
- Food — a three-day supply of non-perishable food for family and pets
- Bowl for pet food if you have pets
- Water — a three-day supply for each person and pet (a gallon a day each)
- Battery-powered radio and weather radio
- First-aid kit
- Whistles, flairs or other noise-making devices (in case you need to whistle for help)
- Dust masks
- Garbage bags, toilet paper, baby wipes (personal sanitation supplies)
- Cell phone chargers
- Any prescription medication that might be necessary
- Games or other activities
- Manual can openers, plastic utensils, paper plates
Nobody wants to think about natural disasters and tragic events, but if you are prepared, you stand a much better chance at keeping your family safe and secure while the damage is sorted out. Talk to your family about what to do in case of an emergency and make sure your entire family knows the plan. Also, stay informed of changes in weather and know when to evacuate for certain situations. Understanding what needs to be done for every possible emergency could save someone’s life.
Bradley Davis is a retired firefighter from Southern California. He has seen plenty of natural disasters and the damage they cause. He strives to help others prepare and recover. His mission is to spread information about preparing for natural disasters.