This week’s news headlines have showcased floods in Florida and wildfires in the west. Many people had to flee their homes with little warning. If your family was in this situation, would you be prepared? Most of us have thought about an emergency plan, and some people have done some preparation – for instance buying fresh batteries and some bottled water. Emergency preparedness requires that more be done to adequately prepare for different types of emergency situations.
A basic emergency plan should include the following:
- A plan you have discussed with your family that covers what to do in common disaster situations. Consider such things as where the closest shelters are in the event you must leave your home; what you will do with your pets during the emergency; who will be responsible for bringing the emergency supplies; and what will happen if the family is split up during the emergency (for example, one parent is at work).
- Have a back-up plan for contacting family members to let them know you are alright. Remember that when emergencies strike, cell phone service does not always work.
- Keep a disaster kit packed and ready to go. Check the FEMA disaster preparedness website for great information on what to include in your kit.
- Have all current documents in a waterproof container with your disaster supplies kit. This should include identification (birth certificates, Social Security cards, driver’s license, and passport), insurance policies and agent contact numbers, medical records and an emergency phone listing. You may also want to have some cash on hand in case stores cannot accept credit cards.
Even if you do not have to evacuate your home, you may be in a situation where you are without utilities and must rely on what you have in your disaster kit. It is always best to be prepared. Even if there is advanced warning (for example, a hurricane), waiting until the last minute can mean long lines and shortages of emergency supplies like bottled water, batteries, tarps, bread and peanut butter.
Planning ahead makes sense. Stay safe!