Be Ready For Anything – Family Disaster Planning Basics
If you and your family don't have any plans made for what to do in the event of a natural disaster, it's time to get started laying the groundwork. Just think about it - when disaster strikes, would you rather be safe and in the position to help others in need or just another addition to the burden on organized rescue efforts? A little planning and preparation today means your safety - and perhaps even the safety of your neighbors and other people as well - tomorrow, in the event of an emergency.
Hold a Family Meeting
If you're starting from the ground up, a great way to get started with your family emergency planning is to host family meetings. Start off with some discussion about the hazards that exist for your family. What specific threats does your family need to plan for? For example, do you live in an area that floods or sees hurricanes? Or perhaps blizzards are more common. These are all very real threats, but it makes the most sense, of course, to focus first on those that are most likely to occur near you.
Discuss any special needs within the family as well. For example, are there furry family members in the home? Does anyone have any disabilities or conditions that might change the way you go about your emergency response?
Another point of discussion is to determine each family member's unique skills. Perhaps it would be wise to take CPR courses or other types of safety and first aid training. There is a wide range of skills that could be useful in emergency and crisis situations:
- First aid
- Food preparation
- Critical thinking
Evacuation and Communication Planning
It's crucial to have an evacuation plan in place for each type of situation your family might face. Have routes in mind to evacuate your home, and even your city - a predetermined, out of town location will be helpful if you find yourself with enough time to leave the area. Be sure that you know where the designated emergency shelters in your area are located. Determine and discuss routes with your family so that everyone can make their way there on their own if the family is separated. Find out if there are pet shelters available, too.
It's wise to have your vehicle ready for evacuation at all times. Keep your car fueled up at all times - you do not want to have to deal with the chaos at the gas station in an evacuation situation. Also, keep an emergency roadside kit
in your vehicle as well.