Every family, especially ones with younger children, should have an emergency kit and plan prepared and in place ahead of time. The kit should be designed to help get you and your family through a few days without power or access to outside assistance, and the plan should be specific and memorized by all members of your family. In honor of September’s National Preparedness Month, let these simple steps serve as a guide for how to put your own emergency plan into place.
• Make your plan together. Think of scenarios that could happen and plan how you would manage your family if they happened. What if you lost power for a week straight? What if your neighborhood was flooded for 3 days and your vehicle becomes inoperable? What if your roof gets torn off in a hurricane? Where will you go if your home becomes suddenly uninhabitable? Plan for the worst and you’ll be fully prepared for the moderately inconvenient.
• Make sure everyone is comfortable with the plan and that everyone will be able to execute it. Share your plans with extended family so they know how to contact you if you have to leave without notice. These plans should include: who will be in charge of getting the house prepared, where you will take shelter, how you will get to shelter if you can’t access your car, and who will turn off the electricity and gas at your house before you leave.
• Build your ready-to-deploy disaster supply kit. The basic kit should include food, water, medicine, copies of prescriptions, first aid supplies, and personal hygiene items. Your kit should also contain copies of important documents like personal identification and insurance. Make sure you have plenty of cash or travelers checks in the event that there is no power to take money out of the bank. Your kit should also have some other essentials, for example, batteries, flashlights, blankets, cell phone chargers, and extra clothing. Don’t forget about your kids in your disaster supply kit as well; make sure to bring plenty of food and games to keep them entertained, and if you have young children, have extra diapers, wipes and clothes as well!
Practice makes perfect – once your plan and kits are ready, be sure your entire family knows the plan and knows where the kits are. Practice an emergency bug-out scenario – how fast can you get your gear and family into the car? When dealing with emergency conditions, seconds count.
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