Before Emergency Strikes: Create an Emergency Plan, Prepare a Disaster Supply Kit
March 7, 2005 -- It is important to know how to be prepared before an emergency occurs. Developing a family emergency plan and assembling a disaster supply kit can help ensure your safety when the unthinkable happens. Before creating a household emergency plan, learn about the types of emergencies that may affect your community, how you’ll be notified when an event does occur and what plans are already in place to deal with these events. Recognize what your community’s warning system sounds like and what to do when you hear it. Emergencies may strike when your family members are away from home, so find out about plans at your workplace, school or other places where you spend time.
Create an Emergency Plan
Steps to take in creating a household emergency plan include:
- Schedule a family meeting to discuss the dangers of possible emergency events including fire, severe weather, hazardous spills and terrorism.
- Discuss how you and your family will respond to each possible emergency.
- Discuss what to do in case of power outages or personal injuries.
- Draw a floor plan of your home and mark two escape routes from each room.
- Teach adults how and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity at main switches.
- Post emergency contact numbers near all telephones, and pre-program emergency numbers into phones with autodial capabilities.
- Teach children how and when to dial 9-1-1 to get emergency assistance.
- Because it is often less easier to call long distance during an emergency than within the affected area, choose an out-of-state friend or relative whom all family members will call if separated during an emergency.
- Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
- Pick two meeting places-one near your home and one outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after an emergency.
- Take a basic first aid and CPR class.
- Keep family records in a water-an fireproof safe. Inexpensive models can be purchased at most hardware stores.
Prepare a Disaster Supply Kit
Electricity, water, heat, air conditioning or telephone service may not work in an emergency.
Preparing a disaster supply kit in advance can save precious time in the event you must evacuate or go without utilities for an extended period. Consider including the following items when putting together your disaster supply kit:
- At least a 3-day supply of water (1 gallon per person per day). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Replace every 6 months.
- A 3-to-5-day supply of nonperishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.
- A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
- Blankets, bedding or sleeping bags.
- A first aid kit and prescription medications (be sure to check expiration dates).
- An extra pair of glasses or contact lenses and solution.
- A list of family physicians, important medical information and the style and serial number of medical devices such as pacemakers.
- Special items for infants, the elderly or family members with disabilities.
- A battery-powered radio, a flashlight and extra batteries.
- Identification, credit cards, cash and photocopies of important family documents including home insurance information.
- An extra set of car and house keys.
- Tools such as screwdrivers, cutters and scissors. Also duct tape, waterproof matches, an ABC fire extinguisher, flares, plastic storage containers, needle and thread, pen and paper, a compass, garbage bags and regular household bleach.