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Prepare Your Family for a Disaster

Disasters occur far more often than we would like.  Mother Nature throws hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and several other threatening events our way that constantly challenge us.  The best way for us to fight back is to take precaution and be prepared.

It’s National Preparedness Month, a FEMA initiative that began in 2004 to keep Americans aware and prepared for emergencies.  This is the perfect time to get started if you haven’t already.

Following a disaster, the next steps of recovery are crucial.  Creating emergency kits for both households and vehicles is essential, as well as developing a plan for the family so each individual knows what to do in the event of a disaster.  Not everyone in your household may be in the same place when a disaster happens, so it’s important to make sure that the entire family is on board with the plan in place.

Creating a disaster kit doesn’t have to be a tedious task: make it a fun family activity!

Develop a Plan

Your emergency plan should include a group meeting place, one near the home, and one outside the neighborhood.  Identify an emergency contact person from outside the immediate area in case local telephone lines are overwhelmed or not functioning.  Designate responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team.

Any emergency plan should also include decisions about where family members will go if ordered to evacuate and what route they will take to get there.  It’s a good idea to include alternate routes in case roads are closed.  If pets are part of the household, make sure to include plans for them such as pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters along the evacuation route.

Assemble a Kit

Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you may need in the event of an emergency or disaster.  Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.

Emergency kits should include items such as:  

  • battery-powered or crank radio
  • weather alert radio
  • extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • sanitary wipes
  • dust mask
  • water for drinking and sanitation
  • water purification tablets
  • waterproof matches and/or butane lighter
  • crank flashlight
  • plastic sheeting
  • non-perishable food for at least three days
  • disinfectants and medications.
  • medical information for entire family, including details about dosages of required medications and a list of known health issues

Be Informed

Follow disaster relief organizations like The Salvation Army,  Red Cross and FEMA on Twitter for the latest updates on how we’re serving on the disaster scene or for ways you can help.  You can also sign up for local disaster alerts at http://www.ready.gov/alerts.

(What NOT to do PSA Courtesy of FEMA and the Ad Council.)

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