Monday, May 23, 2011
Get a Kit. Make a Plan. Be Informed
We’ve witnessed a lot of disasters lately, both at home and abroad. Some disasters can be prevented. For instance, we can use caution when using candles in our home, and can ensure that our home’s electrical wiring is in good shape. But not all house fires can be prevented, no matter how careful we are. Still, we can make a plan to make sure that every member of the family knows what to do in the event of a house fire.
Some disasters give us warning, such as floods after heavy rains. We may have time to collect important items before leaving home for safety. If you’ve prepared an emergency kit in advance, you can move quickly to gather last-minute items.
Earthquakes don’t give warnings–they just strike. During an earthquake, it may be hard to grab even an emergency kit, but afterward you may be able to re-enter your home to gather supplies if you have to leave. Having an emergency kit ready will help. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to protect themselves during an earthquake.
We usually have some warning of a tornado or hurricane, but not much. You can save lives if you have a kit, a plan and are informed about what to do, where to go.
In major disasters, you may not be directly affected at all–your home may remain intact and you can continue to live there. However, it may not be possible for you to continue business as usual because of road damage, electrical outage, store closures, etc. Emergency management authorities now suggest you have enough supplies to last five to seven days.
Recent events have made it clear that we can’t be complacent about the possibility of a disaster. The American Red Cross urges everyone to prepare:
Get a KitKeep supplies in easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, covered buckets and plastic tubs. Consider water, food, clothing, medicines, tools, enough supplies to last five to seven days.
Make a PlanMake sure everyone in your family knows what to do in the event of a disaster. Make a family plan about where to meet if you can’t return to the home. Choose an out-of-area contact whom family members can call to “check in.”
Be InformedLearn what emergencies may occur in your area. Identify how local authorities will provide information during a disaster. Know how to reach help. Make sure at least one member of the family is trained in First Aid and CPR–it can save lives.
For more information on disaster preparedness, visit http://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/epc.pdf