It is important to take action and plan for emergencies. Being prepared decreases the amount of stress and fear one has when a disaster arises. A plan is not only important to be developed on paper, but practiced and maintained throughout the year as well.
Part of your planning is developing a communications plan. Your loved ones may not be together when an emergency strikes. Things you should do: 1. Designate a place to meet and choose a backup location outside your neighborhood 2. Designate an emergency contact 3. Be prepared to use a landline phone or a cell phone 4.Post emergency numbers by all phones in your home 5. Teach all members in your household how and when to call 9-1-1. 5. Ask an out of state friend/relative to be a contact 6. Discuss what to do with your pets.
Another part of preparation is considering places you interact with outside of your home. Talk with your child’s school about their plan. Find out how they will communicate with you during an emergency. Decide if disaster strikes who would be able to pick up your kids in case you are unable to. Discuss with your neighbors how you can work together and help each other if disaster strikes. At work, find out what kind of emergency preparedness and communication plans are in place.
Elderly or people with disabilities present special challenges in emergencies. Learn about challenges ahead of time to aide with coping and recovering from emergencies. Develop a personal support network made up with people who can check on you in an emergency if no family is available. Notify these people when you are going out of town and when you will return.
Another part of planning is establishing an emergency kit. Everyone needs to keep in mind that during or after an emergency you won’t have time to search for supplies. Stores may not be open or run out of needed supplies also. Develop your own kit containing needed items and know where they are. Recommended supplies to have in this kit include: 1. Water, at least one gallon per person per day for at least three days, stored in a plastic container 2. Food at least a three day supply of nonperishable items 3. First aid kit 4. Prescription meds 5. Battery powered radio, flashlights, and extra batteries 6. Can opener, 7. Bedding for each person, 8. Personal hygiene items 9. Dust mask or cotton T-shirt for each person to help filter the air 10. A whistle to signal for help 11. A waterproof container to store important documents such as driver’s license, birth certificates, copies of medical prescriptions, and insurance policies. After the kit is assembled, store it in a location that all household members are aware of, review the contents periodically to be sure food and water are fresh and prescription medicines are up to date. Make sure that all of your belongings and equipment needed, such as walker or cane, have an ID tags on them.
It is important that you and your loved ones develop a plan before an emergency arises. Following the above suggestions will help ease fears and stress when disaster occurs.