Do you know what to do if a disaster strikes?
Natural disasters and emergencies can happen anywhere, at anytime. The forces of nature can be unpredictable and unforgiving.
We, as parents, cannot prevent these disasters from occurring. We can, however, take steps to prepare by creating an emergency plan to assist our family in the event of a disaster. Here’s how:
Identify and be aware of potential risks. Think about what emergency situations could affect your family based on where you live, learn, work and play. Consider medical emergencies, acts of terrorism, and natural disasters.
Include your entire family. It is important to make sure that the whole family is prepared and informed in the event of a disaster or emergency. You may not always be together when these events take place — so have plans in place ensure you are able to contact and find one another.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that families take the following steps for disaster/emergency preparedness:
- Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster. For example, during an earthquake you will need to “drop, cover, and hold on” under a sturdy desk or table. On the other hand, during a tornado, you would need to seek shelter in a lower level room without windows.
- Choose multiple meeting places. Different disasters may require you to go to different places. Make sure you choose a meeting place in your neighborhood, a meeting place just outside your neighborhood, and a meeting place out of town.
- Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways to get out of each room.
- PRACTICE. Review these plans with all members of your family. Practice your disaster plans by running drills with the whole family.
- Don’t Forget Pets! Think about what you would do with your pets, because they may not be allowed in emergency shelters. For more information, check out Preparing Your Pet for Emergencies.
Create a family communication plan. Use these resources to create information plans for each family member:
Plan for children and/or adults with special health care needs. The following resources address specific disaster preparations for families with special needs:
- Emergency Preparedness for Families of Children with Special Needs
- Emergency Preparedness – The Center for Children with Special Needs
- Special Needs Emergency Preparedness | Red Cross
Create a disaster supply kit. Ready.gov recommends creating a disaster supply kit with the following recommended items:
- Water: one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert plus extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air. Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
- Additional emergency supply recommendations can be found HERE.
Remember: it’s best to prepare for an emergency BEFORE it happens.
Photo Credit: Josh Henderson