Family Emergency Disaster Plans | Do You Have One?
There is an important lesson to be learned from the recent natural disasters: you can never be too prepared. Many people live day by day without thinking of potential dangers. People don’t start preparing for an emergency until news stations tell them to. The weather man says that we are going to receive a foot of snow and to go out for supplies now. By the time you get to the store, there are no more generators, no more shovels, and no more food. If you had a plan in place, you wouldn’t even have to scramble at the store and battle the masses. Having a plan and being prepared can save you a lot of headache when a disaster (a real disaster, not snow) does happen.
Your Location Is Your First Thought When You Begin
Each location of the world has their own unique type or list of “potential disasters”. Even just in the United States, the disasters that may occur on the East Coast are different than those on the West Coast. The East Coast tends to have hurricanes and snowstorms. The Midwest have tornados. And the West Coast has earthquakes. Do some research and familiarize yourself with the potential disasters in your area. Check out the map below for what natural disaster your area is most prone to:
Your preparedness plan should take into account the specific location disasters as well as disasters that could affect anybody in any location, for example fires. The plan should have where to meet in case of an evacuation, contact information (name, address, phone numbers), and maps. You should know how to use paper maps because there is no guarantee that your GPS or phones will work during a disaster.
Having a plan in itself is not going to be useful if you and your family don’t know it. Make sure to educate everyone in your family including your little ones what to do in case of an emergency. It may sound extreme, but think about practicing your plan. Many offices and schools have drills, you should have drills at home.
Think about all the scenarios that could happen and plan for them. If there is an earthquake and I am indoors where do I go vs if there is an earthquake and I am outdoors. What do I do if I am separated from my family during a disaster?
Another good tip is giving copies of important documents to a friend or family out of state. If a disaster strikes in Washington D.C. it is not likely that Oregon will be affected. Phone lines will probably jammed up as well. You should also have a point of contact to let them know if you are ok. I have a family member in Arizona that all of us in Maryland are supposed to call in case of a disaster. This saves us all time to have a central person know what is going on instead of trying to call each and every individual. I can use my energy to focus on what I need to do next instead of trying to follow up with everyone.
Part of being prepared is having a kit ready. Most organizations advise to have at least 3 days’ worth of supplies if evacuating and 2 weeks if at home, including food and water, for all in your household.
Basic Emergency Kit Items
Items to include in your kit:
It is also advised to have your car’s gas tank filled before disaster strikes. It may be advantageous to have some gas cans ready as well.
Regardless of where you are in the world, you need to have an emergency plan. Disasters do not discriminate and if you think it won’t happen to you…it could happen to anyone.