20 Quick Tips for Emergency Preparedness

19

OCT

20 Quick Tips for Emergency Preparedness

I don’t know about you, but to me, the last 60 days have seemed like a dress rehearsal for Armageddon. First it was the horrific hurricane that flooded Texas and the Gulf States, before the second hurricane arrived and destroyed just about everything on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. And just when we were starting to get a grip on those massive disasters, the wild fires hit and burned thousands of acres of California. The fires were the most unexpected of our recent catastrophes, many leaving victims with only minutes to abandon their property before it was scorched from the earth –

http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/10/us/california-fires-napa/index.html, http://abc7news.com/wildfire-evacuation-advisories-expand-in-north-bay/2523038/

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-northern-california-wildfires-20171012-story.html

www.nytimes.com/2017/10/10/us/california-fires.html

california-fires

As tragic as these disasters have been and will continue to be, they have hopefully served a lesson in making us all more aware of how important emergency preparedness is to our family’s security. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of 15 quick, yet crucial tips for making sure you’re ready for any emergency.

1. Create a family emergency evacuation plan. Make sure that everyone in your family understands two things: how to vacate your house or apartment in a safe way; and where you are to meet after evacuation. Your meeting place should identify two locations – one near your house and one that is outside of your neighborhood. Your neighborhood meeting place is where everyone should meet if they are home; the outside meeting location should be used in the event one or more family members are not home when an emergency situation occurs, or if your neighborhood is unsafe. www.ready.gov/make-a-plan

2. Make an emergency communications plan. Be sure that everyone knows the person and their contact info, so they can reach them in the event of separation. Pick a friend, neighbor or relative that you all know and will all contact via phone or Internet to ensure everyone knows where all your family members are located. If you would like to see an example of an emergency contact card, visit www.redcross.org or www.ready.gov

3. Don’t forget your best friend’s safety. You should make a plan to ensure all of your animals are going to be safe in an emergency. Things like checking to see if nearby emergency shelters will accept animals; being sure that your Vet’s contact information is listed on your emergency contact card; and finally, proactively store extra food and water in anticipation of your pet’s emergency needs. For more information about protecting your pets, visit the Humane Society’s website at www.hsus.org.

4. Know your children’s school emergency plans. Obtain a copy of their plans and keep it with your emergency kit. Discuss the plans with your kids on a regular basis so that it is ingrained into their memory. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/all-around/Pages/Actions-Schools-Are-Taking-to-Make-Themselves-Safer.aspx

5. Rehearse your children’s personal information with them. If your children are young, be sure that they know their full name, address and phone number. Teach them how to use the 911system and explain how important contacting help in an emergency can be. To learn tricks to teach the basics to your kids, go here: http://lastingthumbprints.com/8-ways-to-teach-children-their-address-and-phone-number/

72-hour-emergency-food-kit

6. Start and maintain an emergency food storage program. Regardless of your budget, you should start and maintain a supply of foods designed for emergency situations. You can start small and add more as your finances allow, but every home should have at least a three-day supply of food and water on hand at all times. For information about the kinds of emergency foods available and how easy they are to prepare, visit www.augasonfarms.com.

7. Make some “Grab & Go” packs for quick evacuations. These small backpacks are filled with everything you need to survive for at least 72 hours. Emergency foods, water filtration bottle, duct tape, a premium First Aid kit, multi-tool, solar radio, cooking kit, emergency blankets, flashlight, toiletries and other items you deem necessary. To see what a good bug-out kit should contain, go to: www.augasonfarms.com/food-supply-kits/emergency-food-kits. Once you’ve compiled your kits, place them around your house in strategic places. Once you decide it’s time to evacuate, all you have to do is grab your bag and hit the road. They are also great if you have to shelter in place for events like earthquakes…grab a bag and gather your family under the dining room table until the shaking stops.

8. Keep your car’s gas tank at least half-full at all times. Since you never know when an emergency situation could arise, you can never be sure your local gas station will be open and pumping. Often, major refineries are forced to shut down during hurricanes and floods, reducing the amount of gas that’s available nationwide. By keeping your tank at least half-full, you will guarantee that you and your family will have enough gas to at least make it to your evacuation site. ktla.com/2017/08/31/gas-prices-spike-overnight-as-harvey-threatens-texas-oil-refineries/

9. Keep some cash on hand to get you through the first week of a disaster. Some of the first things to go down during a hurricane or other weather related events are the ATM machines. And since most banks close during crisis situations, you cannot depend on them for your monetary needs. Experts recommend keeping at least $200 on hand (in small bills if possible) to cover your expenses for the first few days of any emergency event. You may also want to spread your monetary resources out by placing some money in your kid’s backpack and some in your car kit, etc. If you can stash more, all the better. rnn10.wordpress.com/tag/how-much-money-do-i-need-in-a-disaster/

1-year-emergency-food-supply-kit

10. Keep extra medications in your go bags. You should keep some extra over the counter drugs (aspirin, nausea and anti-diarrheal pills, etc.) as well as any prescription medications anyone in your family is taking. For a complete list of what you should have for an emergency, read this: www.gobankingrates.com/net-worth/how-much-physical-cash-need-hand-case-national-emergency/

11. Learn where your utility shutoff valves are and how they work. Regardless of what type of place you live in, (house, apartment, condo, etc.) it’s important to know where your electric, gas and water shutoff valves are located. Be sure to keep any necessary tools required nearby and in a place that everyone in your family knows the location of in case they are the ones to turn everything off. blog.allstate.com/how-to-shut-off-utilities-in-a-natural-disaster/

12. Buy insurance and document your valuables. Since an emergency can strike at any time, it’s good to preplan by having an updated homeowners or renters policy in force at all times. You should also take the time to photograph your valuable objects so there is no misunderstanding of what you need to replace with your insurance company’s adjuster. It will definitely help when you file your claims for storm damage, etc. https://cashmoneylife.com/home-inventory-insurance-documentation/

13. Keep your vaccinations up to date. From flu shots to tetanus, knowing your family’s vaccinations are up to date will give you piece of mind when you are facing the kind of conditions you may be forced to do during an emergency. Don’t forget your four-legged friends vaccines, either. Make sure you have a written record of when you and your pets had their last shots. www.cdc.gov/disasters/disease/immunizationqa.html

14. Get to know your neighbors. Through neighborhood associations, school events, etc. it’s important to know your neighbors and to encourage them to be emergency prepared too. When a real emergency strikes, it’s your neighbors you will be dependent upon. Government aid may be days or even weeks away, but your neighbors are right next door. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/...neighbor...disaster/360139/

15. Keep a pair of hard-soled shoes by your bed. You have at least a 30% chance that any emergency that hits suddenly will do so at night, so you need to get in the habit of performing some simple steps to help ensure your safety – hence, the hard-soled shoes. Always be prepared to leave your home in the middle of the night by keeping some shoes nearby with hard soles. These will help reduce the chance of you stepping on broken glass or any other sharp objects you may incur when evacuating your home at night. This simple step may save you time and keep you from being seriously injured in an emergency bug out. You should also sleep in clothing you can leave in, if necessary. Sorry, sleeping in the buff fans, but sleeping naked just makes it that much harder to flee the house in an emergency. Pajamas provide at least a minimal amount of protection from the elements. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/345862446354002829/

emergency-gear-kit

16. Place an emergency kit in your car. In addition to a flashlight, you should keep a small emergency kit in your car that contains some food and water, a small first aid kit, an emergency blanket and some waterproof matches. You can make your car kit much more inclusive, but just including these few, basic items will guarantee your car will always be a source of emergency assistance. www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/g801/the-ultimate-emergency-preparedness-kit-for-your-car/

17. Take a first-aid/CPR class from your local Red Cross or YMCA. Knowing how to perform CPR or how to stop bleeding can be two lifesaving skills everyone should know. Don’t wait until you need to know these skills – be prepared by taking these classes now for future reference. You may also want to add the same classes for animals. Being able to help your four-legged friends in an emergency is a comforting thing to know. www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr

18. Keep photocopies of all your important papers in one central location. Make copies of your drivers licenses, passports, birth certificates, social security cards, insurance information and medical histories and keep them all together for easy access. Be sure to place these in your bug–out bag so they’ll go with you during an emergency evacuation. www.justgreatlawyers.com/legal-documents-to-prepare-for-emergency-preparedness

19. You can never have too many working flashlights. By placing flashlights in different parts of your home (especially in your bedroom), you will always be able to see what you are facing and how to escape from immediate harm. www.sparefoot.com/self-storage/blog/3976-emergency-items/

20. Practice, practice, practice. It may sound silly, but in order to consider your family “emergency ready,” you’ve got to practice and discuss all the ways you will face an emergency together. Rehearse evacuating your house and meeting in your pre-designated convening area. Check your bug-out bags regularly and make sure all your water and food and medications contained within them are not outdated. https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/plns/mrgncychldrn-en.aspx www.safety.com/how-to-best-prepare-your-children-for-home-emergencies/#gref

Use this list and you can rest assured that you will be ready if any disaster or emergency arises. Remember what the great statesman and inventor, Benjamin Franklin said about the subject, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

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