How To Prepare Your Household for an Emergency
No one likes to dwell on the possibility of a disaster striking your home and family, but unfortunately, it can happen. If you and your family have put together some necessities and discussed a plan of action, you will be better prepared to take action in an emergency.
It would be difficult to prepare in advance for all possible emergencies, but you can begin by considering situations in which you are more likely to find yourself. For example, if you live in an area with extreme cold in the winter, you are more likely to experience an extended power outage or burst pipes than you are a hurricane. Whereas, if you live in Florida, one of them is most likely going to impact you at some point. Think about where you live, and consider the situations you may face. But regardless of the emergency, there are some standard necessities you’ll want to be able to access quickly.
Consider some of the basics that most of us take for granted, such as food, water, heat, electricity and communication equipment, and begin there. It’s best to have enough water and non-perishable food for each member of the family to last for at least three days. If your heating is dependent upon electricity and you don’t have a fireplace with a supply of wood, blankets and warm clothing will be necessary. You also need to be able to charge cell phones and computers for communication, so it is wise to keep a home battery backup on hand.
You’ll want to have a first aid kit, a flashlight and extra batteries, as well as a package of wipes for waterless cleanups. If you experience an emergency that causes property damage, having your insurance agent’s number available is a good idea, as well as those for your utility companies. Think about other emergency items you’ll want to include that may not be on the standard list, for example, an extra rescue inhaler if someone in the family has asthma. The important thing is to create a checklist, then gather the supplies and put them all in one location.
Once you have all of your supplies ready, it’s time for the family to sit down and agree on a disaster plan. Choose two meeting locations in case you have to leave your home separately. One of them should be close by, let’s say by the mailbox. Another should be farther away, in case the first one isn’t safe because of fire or flooding, for example. Make an escape plan from each room of the house in case the door is inaccessible, and for the second floor and above, be sure each room as an emergency escape ladder.
There are many online resources to help you assemble your emergency supply kit. Government websites such as FEMA are an excellent option, and local government agencies could be familiar with the specifics of your area and what type of disasters you are more likely to face. The important thing is to be prepared. The wrong time to be frantically gathering supplies is during an emergency.
Some areas are more vulnerable to specific disasters than to others, so give some thought to where you live and what your most significant danger is and prepare for that. Most of the items in your emergency preparedness kit will be useful regardless of what the situation is. Be sure that each member of the family knows what your emergency plan is and that they’re aware of an alternate escape route should the exit be inaccessible. There are many resources available to help you get prepared and organizations to help you put life back together again once the danger has passed. Though you never know when disaster will strike, your family will rest easier knowing that your provisions are packed, and everyone knows what to do.