How can you take care of your family during an emergency or disaster?
Natural or manmade disasters are a parent’s worst nightmare.
Taking care of your family is already challenging as it is – but to take care of them in moments of risk and danger? That can take a person to a completely different level of panic. Luckily, you don’t have to panic during an emergency if you have a family emergency plan.
Panicking should actually be last on your list of priorities because it will actually cause more harm than good. During disasters or any kind of emergency, your absolute best course of action is to remain calm so you can make better decisions.
Remember, an emergency is actually a test of good decision-making.
The big difference is that during a disaster, a single bad decision can cause tremendous problems for you and your family. Use the guidelines below to craft your own unique emergency plan so that every member of your family will know what to do if a disaster does strike.
Creating Emergency Plans
Gather Vital Information
How can you get disaster management information?
The most common cause of disasters is Mother Nature herself, so a regular monitoring system for hurricanes and other weather disturbances should be mandatory within the household.
There are plenty of reliable resources on the Internet when it comes to monitoring the weather. Make it a point to visit these online weather forecasting services at least once a day to make sure that your family isn’t in the path of a natural disaster.
Many local emergency bureaus host events about emergency preparedness and disaster management. Be sure to attend these special programs or seminars so you are abreast of the latest developments and safety bulletins in your community. If you can bring your family along, that would be excellent.
Why is emergency planning important?
The family that plans together stays alive together during a disaster.
Don’t make a family emergency plan on your lonesome. Try to involve everyone in your family and make sure that you take note of all their input and feedback. You may not be able to use all the feedback, but it’s good to listen to everyone, even the small kids.
A family emergency plan would be useless if the members of your family are unaware of it or are uninterested in the details. Your safety and success depends on each member performing her function during an actual emergency.
What’s in a good emergency plan?
Here are some of the things that you can talk about during your plan-creation sessions:
- What is the basic emergency zone in the event of a disaster?
- Where can you all meet in the event that an emergency requires your whole family to leave the neighborhood?
- Who is in charge of monitoring weather bulletins, local emergency bulletins, etc.?
- What are the special needs of each member of the family and how can you provide them during a disaster?
- How can you communicate with each other in the event that mobile phones and the Internet are both inaccessible?
- In the event of a mass evacuation, what are the functions of each member of the family?
- Who is the emergency contact person that members of the family can call in case they can’t communicate with each other?
Learn the Basics of Disaster Safety
How can you make your home safer during a disaster?
In addition to gathering emergency supplies and resources, you also have to take practical steps to fortify your home against the ravages of disaster.
Here are some easy ways that you can do just that:
Teach your spouse and kids to operate valves, switches and breakers.
Gas shut-off valves and electrical circuit breakers should be accessible and within easy reach. If you can’t reach a circuit breaker in less than three minutes, it’s not accessible.
Modifications should also be made so that switches and outlets will not burn up once there is standing water inside the house. Experts recommend raising outlets at least a foot off the ground to protect them from floodwater.
Plumbing safety measures such as backwater valves should also be installed and any control mechanisms should be easily accessible to you or members of your family. If your kids are too young to participate, teach them to be safe around electricity and gas when there is a disaster.
Explore your home and find potential hazards that can make escape or evacuation more difficult.
Think of natural disasters such as fire, flooding and earthquakes. Once you have identified these hazards, take care of them so that you won’t have to face difficulties during an actual disaster or emergency.
Emergency resources should always be in stock at home.
There will be times when emergency food and medicine expire so replace them accordingly.
Again, the point is to prepare for a future time when these resources will actually be needed. There is no fixed month or day when a disaster will strike so these stockpiles always have to be there for you and your family.
Your family should have a small collection of battery-operated devices and appliances so you won’t have to rely on electricity for power during a disaster.
Rechargeable devices are good, but if you can find appliances and gadgets that require removable batteries, those are much better choices for disasters.
You can replace removable batteries; rechargeable batteries are often embedded within electrical devices and the device is as good as dead when the rechargeable power source finally runs out.
Of course, you will have to create a stockpile of batteries for your devices. Batteries are relatively inexpensive so you won’t have any trouble creating this special stockpile for emergencies
Practice What You’ve Planned
This is where many families fail in terms of disaster preparedness.
You can have the best laid emergency plans in the world but if you have zero practice, it’s hard to pull everything together into a cohesive whole during an actual emergency.
Practice your emergency plan every few months to keep the information fresh in everyone’s minds.
Revising the plan to improve it is alright; as long as the changes are necessary and will not weigh down the effort. An effective, lightweight emergency plain is better than a large, cumbersome one that isn’t practical during an actual emergency.
This is an actual fill in the blanks plan as well as ID cards that can be filled out for each family member. Very good. Remember to make copies of everyones birth certificates, drivers licenses, front page of insurance policies, etc. Bring safety pins for little ones and safety pin a young child’s ID card to their clothing. You can also go to staples and get plastic sleeves that have pins attached.
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