Emergency Preparedness — Are You Ready?

Don’t play games with your family’s safety. Use this checklist and get your emergency preparedness plan and kit together

So, how’s your family’s emergency preparedness plan coming along? What? You haven’t gotten around to doing that yet? I understand. Planning for an emergency is one of those things most people never seem to get around to doing. We lull ourselves into complacency by thinking ‘it won’t happen to me,’ or how about, ‘we live in the United States — how bad could it be?’

If you fall into one of these categories, it’s time to wake up. Turn on the TV. Watch a major news program. See any disasters? Yeah, I thought so. The truth is, this could happen to you and you need to be prepared. Here’s how.

1. Disaster Type

Before you can plan for a disaster, you must know what type of disaster is most likely to happen to you.

2. Warning Signals

Learn your community’s warning signals: what they sound like and what you should do when they occur.

3. Create an Emergency Preparedness Plan

Work as a team with your family.

— Discuss the different types of disasters likely to affect your family

— Assign responsibilities

— Make list of important phone numbers and post them by the phone

— Discuss what to do in the event of evacuation

— Assign an out-of-area friend or family member to be your point of contact

— Decide on two places for your family to meet

4. Phone

Teach children how to dial 911 and when it’s appropriate to call.

5. Utilities

Teach family members how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity to the house.

6. Stock supplies for an emergency preparedness kit

Experts agree each family should plan to be self-sufficient for at least 3 days. Your kit should contain:

— Water – one gallon of water per person per day

— Water purifying agents

— Food – at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food per person. Emergency preparedness food should require no refrigeration, cooking, or preparation.

— Non-prescription medicines — pain reliever, antacid, laxative, anti-diarrhea medication, rubbing alcohol, antiseptic

— Tools and supplies — flashlight, extra batteries, matches, can opener, radio, paper and pencil, candles

— Hygiene supplies — toilet paper, feminine supplies, soap, detergent, garbage bags.

— First Aid Kit — Purchase a pre-made kit or put together your own

— Clothing — sturdy shoes, rain gear, blankets, gloves

— Special items — remember to prepare for special situations. For example, if you have a baby in the family, you would need to stock diapers and formula. If you have a family member with an illness, stock their supplies.

— Family Documents — Store all your important family papers (birth certificates, social security numbers, marriage certificate, bank account numbers, stock and savings information) in a watertight container.

Emergency disaster preparedness should never be underestimated. When it’s all said and done, there’s nothing more important than the safety of your family. Take action today and get your emergency preparedness act together.