As a mom, feeling concern about the safety of your children is second nature. Disasters and other emergencies can occur any time of the year and often happen without any warning. Preparing your family for an emergency means getting everybody involved. Having a solid plan helps to ensure your entire family is ready for a disaster no matter where you are.
Know the Risk
Each region of the country has different risk levels for different disasters. The end results of different kinds of emergencies can be similar, which means you need to know what to do and where to go. Find out about the different types of emergencies your location is likely to experience and what the likelihood of those disasters might be. Share your findings with your family in a way that doesn’t scare them but inspires them to be prepared.
Get informed about what protective measures will be most helpful to your family in the event of an emergency. Know what to do before, during and after the event. Familiarize yourself with different types of emergencies like fire or flood so you know which actions to take. Your family can work together and prepare in advance as a team for the greatest level of protection from danger.
Have a Plan
Plan in advance in case your family is not all together when a disaster strikes. Learn about the emergency plans at places where you spend a lot of time, such as work, school, childcare centers, church, sports practice and on mass transit. Have a meeting to share about location-specific plans to ensure everyone understands. Make sure your emergency plans are simple so even young kids can remember the details. Tell them to always trust and respect their elders, and remind them to follow their direction in times like these. Share responsibilities for executing the emergency plan and work together.
Every three months or so, quiz your kids’ knowledge of your emergency plans. Have practice emergency drills several times each year, including practicing at evacuation. Run through different emergency scenarios of disasters that could happen in your region, such as a tornado or a wildfire.
Prepare Emergency Kit
In any type of emergency, you’ll need supplies such as a battery-powered flashlight, weather radio, first aid kit, cash, blankets, medications, sanitary supplies, diapers, formula, food and water. Rotate your emergency water and rations every six months. Make the supplies easy to find and be prepared for self-sufficiency for a minimum of two days. Keep your emergency kits portable and in a location where all household members know to find them.
Look into different escape routes around your home. Write down the routes and draw a diagram if possible. Make sure everybody who lives in your house as well as overnight guests understand the plan and know how to escape and where to go if necessary.
Create Rendezvous Point
In an ideal situation, all of your household members would be together during an emergency. However, this might not be the case in real life. Designate two meeting areas, one that is close to home such as a nearby park or school. The other should be located centrally within your city.
Update Emergency Plan
If you move to a new home, change jobs, schools or other important details in your daily life change, be sure to update your emergency plan. Look at your emergency plan every three months and make updates as needed. Check your non-perishable supplies once each year, paying extra attention to things like batteries.
Keep enough emergency supplies in your home to ensure everyone’s needs are met. To make this affordable, purchase needed items a few at a time and store them for emergency use.
Volunteer as a part of disaster support efforts in your community. Take part in the community planning process. Support survivors of emergencies by donating money or goods that can help meet the needs of the displaced or injured.
Spending a few minutes of your time today on making emergency plans could help you save time and the lives of your loved ones if an emergency were to occur. You’ll be prepared and able to reunite together as a family by thinking ahead and communicating with each other.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patricia Dimick is a Denver based writer and a passionate coffee drinker. She loves to write about parenting topics and loves DIY jobs. When Patricia’s not writing or playing table tennis, she usually spends time with her precious daughter and a husband enjoying trips to nature. You can reach her @patricia_dimick.