Emergency Preparedness: Disasters
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Posted by: Itati Martin
Myth: I don’t need to worry about disasters where I live.
Most communities may be impacted by several types of hazards during a lifetime. Americans also travel more than ever before to areas with different hazard risks than at home. Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make the difference when seconds count.
Prepare yourself and your family for a disaster by making an emergency plan. Your emergency planning should address care of pets, aiding family members with access and functional needs and safely shutting off utilities.
There are important differences among potential emergencies that can impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. Your emergency plan will help you prepare in advance so that you are ready. Some things to consider are signs of hazardous events that come with very little warning, how to protect your household during a disaster and recovery following the initial disaster. Part of your planning should include discussing types of disasters that could affect you such as natural disasters (earthquake, flood, tornado), technological & accidental hazards (chemical releases, etc.), terrorist attacks, pandemics and home fires.
Part of your emergency plan should include a family communication plan. FEMA has a template that can help you develop your family communication plan (attached). You should have a family discussion to determine who would be your out-of-town or out-of-state point of contact and where you would meet away from your home, both in the neighborhood and in your town. You should pick the same person for each family member to contact. Remember, it might be easier to reach someone who’s out of town and not impacted by the emergency.
You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one.
Once you have drafted your emergency plan, gather your family members and discuss the information in the plan. Practice your plan at least twice a year and update it according to any changes or issues that may arise.