Plan Ahead: Preparing an Emergency Plan

Plan Ahead: Preparing an Emergency Plan
As many Americans unexpectedly discovered this week, a storm or natural disaster can arrive suddenly and have surprising consequences. No matter the time of the year, every family should protect themselves by preparing an emergency plan.

Why is Preparing an Emergency Plan Important?

Just like drowning danger, much of the danger from storms and disasters is preventable. Sadly, according to a survey from FEMA, nearly 60% of American adults have not practiced what to do in a disaster. Beyond that, only 39% have developed an emergency plan.

Preparing an emergency plan can save your life and the lives of your family. Before disaster strikes, it is crucial to stay informed and to know how to act in the case of an emergency.

To this end, we’ll be sharing some tips for preparing an emergency plan today:

Keep Informed

Beyond all other factors, knowledge is power. Preparing an emergency plan should include a lot of, well, preparing. That means taking account of news reports and government warnings. You never can tell when a storm will strike, but the experts usually have a good handle on the matter.

To this end, it pays to stay connected to your local area’s emergency warning systems. Don’t simply rely on internet and cable television. As far too many of us know, these can easily be lost due to power outages during a nasty storm.

Instead, we recommend keeping a battery-operated radio. When fully charged, it can provide hours or even days of information, even when all other systems break down.

Take Stock

You and your family should understand the infrastructure and resources of the surrounding area. This means knowing nearby modes of transportation, both personal and public. Additionally, knowing where to locate life-giving resources, such as food and water, can make a huge difference if you find yourself in need.

Stay Healthy

When it comes to times of trouble, don’t laugh off the idea of a “disaster survival kit,” known more colloquially as a “bug-out bag.” Keeping a collection of supplies to help you stay safe during an emergency can save your life. As part of preparing an emergency plan, a disaster supply kit can be invaluable. To build one, try to include everything you need to survive, including a flashlight, first aid kit, a battery-operated radio, and more. For more help, the Department of Homeland Security has created a handy list of items that it recommends you include in your disaster supply kit.

Don’t forget to check this kit each and every year. After all, some items can expire, such as batteries, which can leak and destroy other materials. In these cases, you’ll want to replenish the items in the kit as soon as possible.

Plan for Personal Injuries and Danger

When preparing an Emergency Plan, keep the various ages and conditions of your family members in mind. For instance, older family members or those with disabilities may not be able to hear or move as quickly as others. Small children and infants may not be as capable of taking care of themselves. To all these ends, you should think ahead of any special accommodations you’ll need for these folks.

Plan an Evacuation Route

Try to stay in your home, protected by shelter. Don’t venture out if you don’t need to do so. However, some storms are simply too severe. Leaving is unavoidable. In this case, here are a few tips to help keep everyone as safe as possible:

  • Make sure your whole family agrees upon a meeting place close to your home. During a disaster, separation may spell doom unless you know how and where to find one another again.
  • Every family member should memorize emergency contact phone numbers. For young children, write these on a contact card or backpack card.
  • No matter what, it always pays to have responsible people who are trained in first aid and CPR certified. These precautions often save lives.

Practice Makes Perfect

The best time to practice an emergency plan is literally any time but during an emergency. You’ll be able to take things slow and steady when you aren’t in a panic. Get your family up to speed on the potentially frightening emergency tactics.

Rather than winging it, take some time to identify the responsibilities that each member of your household will have in the case of an emergency. Finally, hop in your vehicle and drive your proposed evacuation route.

We’ve explored the basics for driving safely in the rain or snow, but it bears repeating. If it is at all possible for you to avoid driving, then don’t drive. When it comes to storm safety, always try to remain inside, protected from the elements.

If you absolutely have to drive, make sure to gas up your vehicle before the storm arrives. Additionally, make sure your windshield wiper fluid is full. Driving during a storm can be hazardous enough without adding further visibility issues. Just be aware that during particularly cold weather, the wiper fluid may quickly freeze to your window.

For additional storm safety reading, take a look at the American Red Cross’ Safety Checklist.