Some disasters strike without any warning. Learn how to protect yourself and cope with disaster by planning ahead using the following checklist:
1. Call Your Emergency Management Office or American Red Cross Chapter
- Ask how you would be warned of an emergency.
- Learn your community's evacuation routes.
- Ask about special assistance for elderly or disabled persons.
- Learn about emergency plans for your children's school or day care center.
- Ask your workplace about emergency plans.
2. Make a Plan.
- Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster – fire, severe weather, earthquakes and other emergencies.
- Draw a floor plan of your home and mark two escape routes from each room.
- Pick two emergency meeting places – a place near your home in case of a fire and a place outside your neighborhood in case you're unable to return home after a disaster.
- Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated during a disaster. (It's often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area.)
- Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones.
- Teach children how and when to call 911, police and fire, as well as your out-of-state contact's phone numbers.
- Keep family records in a water- and fire-proof container.
3. Create a Kit.
A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. To get started, make sure you have enough supplies to last for at least three days, including the following items:
- One gallon of water per person per day, sealed in unbreakable containers
- Non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener
- Change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- A first aid kit and prescription medications
- An extra pair of glasses
- A battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries
- Cash or traveler's checks
- An extra set of car keys
- A list of family physicians
- Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
With just a little time, effort and money, you can be prepared with the supplies you and your loved ones need to survive when no other support or assistance is available. It is a wise and potentially life-saving investment. Start today!
This article first appeared in the November 2014 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.