It’s the beginning of a new year. We wish you the very best in 2017 and encourage you to make emergency preparedness one of your top priorities in the coming year. No one knows when emergencies will hit, and once they do, it is often too late to get prepared. Making a smart disaster plan in advance can give you peace of mind and ensure that you and your loved ones know what to do in the event of an emergency.
Here are some guidelines for making a solid emergency plan:
- Contact card – Each family member should make a contact card that includes their name, phone number and home address as well as a list of people to contact in case of an emergency. Printable contact cards are available online through the Red Cross.
- Emergency contact – Choose an emergency contact and memorize their phone number if possible. A friend or relative who lives out of town is a good bet. In the event of an emergency, family members should call or text this emergency contact to let them know that you are safe.
- Emergency phone numbers – Make sure you have access to the phone numbers of all family members and emergency contacts, such as the police station, fire department, or hospital near you. Type them into your cell phone for easy access.
Family Disaster Plan
Consider the possible types of emergencies that may come your way before making a disaster plan. Depending on your location, these may include tornadoes, flash floods, earthquakes, or brush fires. Then make a corresponding disaster plan.
- Safe spots – Designatesafe spots in your home for different kinds of disaster. Family members must be able to seek cover under a sturdy table or desk in case of an earthquake or go to the basement or safe room in case of a tornado.
- Meeting places – Establish different meeting places for each type of disaster. Choose a meeting place in the neighborhood or outside of town where family members can go for refuge.
- Escape route – Determine the best escape route for each room of the house. This is especially helpful in case of fire. Consider purchasing a rope ladder if you have an upstairs. This can allow people to escape through second-story windows if needed.
- Practice – Practice the disaster plan by running a drill with your whole family present. When disaster strikes, it’s difficult to maintain a level head, but if you’ve already practiced, things will go much smoother.
Being prepared for a disaster saves lives. Commit to work with your family to create an effective disaster plan this year.