Earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, human threats and floods can strike swiftly without warning turning our way of life upside down. Food distribution networks may go down, Federal help may be days or weeks away and civil unrest may be on the rise. Are you prepared? How long can you survive without lifes normal conveniences?
Emergency preparedness is a personal responsibility not to be taken lightly. It involves learning what to do during an emergency, developing a plan based on your learning, and executing that plan to take care of yourself and your family.
Your emergency preparedness plan should include several important aspects. One of these is to select a meeting place when a disaster occurs. In case of fire, you should make a plan to meet in front of your home or at the nearest fire exit. And in case of emergency that requires evacuation, you should meet at a specific place outside the neighborhood.
Another important part is the role that each member of the family should play in an emergency. The children should be well-acquainted with the kinds of danger that the family may face and the types of disasters that may happen. This should be discussed to them in a way that wont scare them but rather, make them feel prepared and empowered.
Each family member should also know how to shut off utility services such as electricity, gas, and water. This should be a part of the plan since failure to shut these things off can pose greater danger.
Lastly, your emergency preparedness plan should include keeping an emergency preparedness kit on hand. Each family or individuals kit should be customized to meet specific needs, such as medications and infant formula. It should also be customized to include important family documents.
Recommended Supplies to Include in a Basic Kit:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First Aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Infant formula and diapers, if you have an infant
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
Clothing and Bedding:
If you live in a cold weather climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that the power will be out and you will not have heat. Rethink your clothing and bedding supplies to account for growing children and other family changes. One complete change of warm clothing and shoes per person, including:
- A jacket or coat
- Long pants
- A long sleeve shirt
- Sturdy shoes
- A hat and gloves
- A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
Family Supply List:
Below are some other items for your family to consider adding to its supply kit.
- Emergency reference materials such as a first aid book
- Rain gear
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
- Cash or travelers checks, change
- Paper towels
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Signal flare
- Paper, pencil
- Personal hygiene items including feminine supplies
- Household chlorine bleach - You can use bleach as a disinfectant (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to treat water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Medicine dropper
- Important Family Documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
Remember: Be Informed, Make a Plan, Build a Kit and Get Involved!