Do you know what to do in an emergency? Do all of the members of your household know what to do, where to go? Do you have plans in place? Do you have proper emergency supplies? What are the weather emergencies that are usual for your area? Because the thing is emergencies are completely unpredictable and they come on you suddenly, but you need to have some plans and supplies in place.
Definition of Emergency:
a sudden, urgent, usually unexpected occurrence or occasion requiring immediate action.
a state, especially of need for help or relief, created by some unexpected event.
This year in Indiana we have had some crazy late summer weather; more tornadoes than normal and unusual amounts of rain that has caused flooding. You need to first off know what natural disasters are more likely for the area where you live: tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunami, flooding, hurricanes, or fires.
For example if you live in a hurricane prone area, know the evacuation routes, have readily accessible the materials needed for securing your home (plywood for all of the windows etc.). Have a suitcase ready to go with toiletries, clothes and some type of money.
If there is a tornado heading your way identify the most secure room in your home. The best option is a basement or storm cellar. If you don’t have that your best option is an interior room that has no outside walls and no windows. You may be in this room for up to an hour. My family always found pillows and blankets a good addition to make things more comfortable. You can leave the TV on if you still have power with the volume turned up to hear your local weather reports even if you can’t see the TV. Or have a battery powered radio with you.
If you are in a flood prone area, can you get your household items onto the second level? Do you have your important personal information in water proof bags or containers? If possible get your cars to higher ground, park at a friend’s home that is out of the flood area even if you are waiting to see if the water will make it too your door.
In case of a fire in your home, know the evacuation route you will take to get out of your house safely. Make sure you have a plan for carrying small children (who is responsible for getting whom) and a dedicated spot in the yard that your family will all meet up to ensure that everyone is out. If you have a two story house, do you have an emergency fire ladder to evacuate if you can’t get down the house’s regular stairs? If you live in an area that has frequent fires that burn through, having an emergency evacuation bag with clothes, toiletries, and cash ready to be thrown into the car at a moment’s notice is a good idea. (Always have working smoke detectors to give you the greatest chances of escape.) Having a fire proof box or bag that stores important documents will save you trouble if your home should be destroyed. Take papers with you if you can, but the next best thing is a fire rated box.
Earthquakes happen without any warning so it is extremely hard to prepare. If you live in a country where the building codes are good staying inside and getting under a strong piece of furniture to protect you from falling objects is your safest route. If you live where building codes are suspect being out in the open away from falling buildings is a good idea.
If you are beach vacationing where there is a potential for a tsunami, and you see the tide quickly roll back from the shore get off the beach and move to the highest ground you can get to. Again this can be sudden and hard to prepare for just be aware of your surroundings and know the potential dangers for the area you are in.
There are some items no matter what you are facing that could help you:
A flashlight (hand crank or extra batteries)
An emergency radio (again battery operated with extra batteries or hand cranking)
An extra cell phone charging cord for when you get somewhere with power
Health Insurance card, Identification cards, Home Insurance information (your agents name)
All prescription medications
Cash or emergency credit card
Supplies to have on hand if you have to stay in your home:
1 gallon of water for each person per day (You can use the water in your hot water tank, it is clean and drinkable. If you are without power it will not stay hot but it can quench your thirst.)
3 day supply of food
Non-electric can opener (This can help you open food cans and food for your pets)
First Aid Kit
Never let your baby supplies or prescription medications get down to the last day before you renew, plan for a 3 day cushion. If you are evacuating your home, take all your prescription medications with you in case you need to refill prior to getting allowed back into your home.
Don’t forget about your pets. They will need food if they are leaving with you and plenty of food and water if they are remaining with you in your home.
What you need to do!
- 1Know the common disasters for your area.
- 2Have a plan in place that everyone in the household knows.
- 3Prepare emergency bags that are grab and go with everything you need.
Here is a helpful mobile app from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that you can download for free to your phone: http://www.fema.gov/mobile-app?utm_source=hp_promo&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=femagov_hp
Let’s hope you never have to use any of the plans or preparations that you make but I imagine most people who suffer through disasters weren’t expecting it to happen to them either.