In this day and age it is unrealistic to think that anyone is exempt from the dangers of natural or man-made disaster.?? As a result, it is crucial for families to take some simple steps to make sure they are prepared in the event of an earthquake, flood, tsunami, wild fire, terrorist attack or other catastrophic event.?? Find out what disasters are likely in your area and put together a Family Evacuation Plan.
If earthquakes are common in your area, it is a good idea to have bag under each person???s bed with a flashlight, change of clothes and pair of sturdy shoes, so it is easy to grab and leave quickly.?? In the event of a fire, families should have two exit strategies for each room in their home.?? Whether your Family Evacuation Plan is to exit using a window or a door is up to you, but the best way to make sure everyone is prepared is to take 15 minutes as a family to go into each room and discuss the possibilities.?? While you do this, make sure you take notes and after your initial home tour, make a diagram to post in the kitchen or other high traffic area.
Another important element of the Family Evacuation Plan is to establish meeting places outside of the home where everyone will meet up if an evacuation is in order.?? The first meeting place should be directly outside of the home, for example on the sidewalk or in front of the next-door neighbor???s house.?? The second meeting place is an out of area location, one that is outside of your immediate neighborhood.??
As part of the Family Disaster Plan, you will need to practice duck, cover and hold (for earthquakes or tornados) and stop, drop and roll (for fire) drills with anyone over the age of 2 in your home.?? The more prepared you are for the worst case scenario, the better off your family will be in an actual disaster.??
All of this information should be recorded and discussed regularly, so that parents, grandparents and anyone who might be taking care of your children will know the plan as well.?? Find out what school and workplace evacuation plansare and record all of this in your Family Emergency Plan folder.?? Make sure you include local and out of area contact names, phone numbers and addresses with this information.?? Again, place this information in a folder and place it in an area that is easy to find.??
At all times, each family member should carry a card with the above listed contact info and evacuation sites.?? After a disaster, each person in the family should contact the same out of area contact and let that person know their location and physical condition as soon as possible.
Disaster Kit Supplies
The most important components of the Disaster Kit are 3 days of food, water, medical supplies, sturdy shoes, blankets, flashlights, batteries and cash.?? All of these items should be stored in durable, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, duffel bags, or covered trash containers.?? I recommend plastic containers as we have had little critters eat through our duffle bags to get to our food supplies.?? Don???t forget to put together kits for your car and work as well.?? The following list of supplies is recommended by the Office of Homeland Security:
* A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) in non-breakable containers.
* A three-day supply of nonperishable food per person.
* Food, water and supplies for pets
* One or two changes of clothing per person, and sturdy shoes. Also
include rain gear, hats and gloves.
* One blanket or sleeping bag per person.
* A first aid kit that includes your family’s prescription medications.
* Emergency tools and supplies including a battery-powered radio,
waterproof matches, compass, whistle, non-electric can opener,
utility knife, map, flashlight, and plenty ofextra batteries.
* Special items for infants (formula, diapers, bottles), the elderly
(prescriptions, denture needs, eyeglasses) or disabled family
members (special equipment, hearing aid batteries.)
* Important family documents stored in a waterproof container. These
can include wills, insurance policies, passports, immunization histories, and other family records.
***?? Keep in mind that if you feel like this is more than you have time to assemble, there are companies that provide pre-assembled kits for you.?? Here are a few links for you:
??One more thing you might want to consider assembling is recommended by FEMA:
Kids Activity Survival Kit
* Favorite books
* Crayons, pencils or marking pens and plenty of paper
* Scissors and glue
* Two favorite toys such as a doll or action figure
* One or two board games
* A deck of cards
* A puzzle
* Small people figures and play vehicles that you can useto play out?????????? what is happening during your disaster — such as ambulance, fire truck, helicopter, dump truck, police car, small boats.
* Favorite stuffed animal or puppet
* Favorite blanket or pillow
* Pictures of the family and pet