According to a 2013 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster preparedness report, 46% of people report that emergency preparedness is “not on their radar.” This is a scary statistic. September is National Emergency Preparedness Month, so our focus this month are the three simple steps you must take in order to make sure you and your family stay safe in a disaster. Just like any organizing project; you must make the time to accomplish this; someday, you’ll be glad you did.
Create a Family Communications Plan
The most important thing you can do to prepare for an emergency is create a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when a disaster occurs, so it’s important to plan in advance how you will get to a safe place, how to contact each other and how to get back together.
Create a contact card for each member of your family. Make sure the cards are easily accessible in a wallet, purse or backpack. Having this information in your cell phone is convenient, but it’s important to make sure there is a backup in case the phone battery dies and there is no electricity to charge it.
Identify an out-of-town friend or relative as your emergency contact. Let all household members know they are to inform that contact that they are safe. Keep in mind if a disaster hits your town, it may have also hit nearby towns. The farther away your contact is the better. Text messages may have an easier time getting through than phone calls, so if you have access to a cell phone, text instead of calling.
The type of disasters requires a different emergency meeting place. Designate a few different emergency meeting places for your family and educate them when to use each location.
Inside Your Home: In case of a tornado or shelter-in-place situation, family members need a location in the home to meet. The most common place is the basement, but if that is not an option, select another room on the main floor with the least amount of windows.
If you are at home during an earthquake, instruct your family to drop, cover and hold - onto the nearest table. If they can't get under something - go find an interior wall. Once the shaking has stopped, and it’s safe to move throughout the house, meet your family members in the designated meeting area inside your home.
Directly Outside Your Home: If there is a fire or other emergency that requires immediate evacuation, go to a meeting place right outside of your house. The mailbox or neighbor’s driveway are easy locations to remember.
In Your Neighborhood: If family members aren’t home when disaster hits and they can’t get back to the house – meet at a location in your neighborhood. A nearby school or church are good choices.
Out of Town: Hurricanes, flooding and other area-specific emergencies will require you to leave your home and neighborhood. If phone lines are down and you are separated from your family during an evacuation, it’s important that every family member knows the evacuation location.
Create a Kit
Your family may need to survive on your own after an emergency. Electricity, water, gas, sewage and phone lines may be unavailable. This means you will need food, water and other basic supplies to keep you safe. Prepare these items now, so you aren’t scrambling if disaster hits.
Emergency kits are needed at home, in the car, at school, and at work. It is recommended that your home kit have enough supplies to sustain you and your family for two to three weeks without assistance (this can include food and water stored in your pantry for regular use). Your car, school and work kits should have at least three days’ worth of supplies. See the list below for suggested supplies – many of which you may already have extras of around the house.
1 gallon of water per person per day Non-perishable food Portable battery powered radio First Aid Kit Flashlights and batteries or light stick Whistle Basic tools Sturdy shoes Sanitation & hygiene items Can opener
Medications Eyeglasses and contact supplies Photocopies of credit and identification cards Kitchen accessories Cooking utensils $200 - $300 worth of cash and coins Pet supplies Infant diapers, formula and bottles Deck of cards Change of clothing for all members of the family
We may not be able to control or predict emergencies, but follow the steps above and rest assured that your family will be ready. Need help getting started? Contact Eliminate Chaos and let us help you make a plan and a kit to keep you and your family safe. Happy Emergency Preparedness Month!
First Aid information in the Palm of your Hand
The app has five features.As one of the official apps of the American Red
Cross, First Aid App gives you access to expert First Aid and emergency preparedness advice right in the palm of your hand. The app features videos, fun quizzes and simple step by step instructions to follow in case of an emergency.
Learn – this feature gives you a menu of first aid choices including choking, heart attack and heat stroke. Select the category to learn what to do in that situation or view a question and answer section.
Prepare – This is where you learn how to prepare for different types of emergencies including earthquake, flood or fire. Select a specific emergency and the app gives you a quick checklist on how to prepare, what to do during and what to do after the emergency has occurred.
Emergency – This feature gives you a quick video and step by step instructions on how to administer First Aid for a variety of situations. You can even call 911 right from that screen.
Test – This is where you can take fun interactive quizzes and test your knowledge on the things you’ve learned. The app even lets you earn achievements along the way.
More – This feature gives you basic American Red Cross information. Learn where to give blood, how to volunteer or donate money.
The app is free and available in the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon Marketplace.