Emergencies come in many forms and levels of severity.
Many of the steps you take for one event can also help for another.
Something that starts out as just a nuisance can turn into an emergency if it continues over a prolonged period of time.
Take a power outage for instance. Initially it is just an inconvenience not having power. We are usually able to continue on doing other things for a couple of hours. But if it continues for 12 or 24 or 48 hours or even more days, now it can become an emergency.
The more prepared you are for that type of an incident the more likely you can be prepared for others.
You can take some simple steps in being prepared, with having a 72 hour emergency kit, a family plan and practice how it will take place if you need to put into play.
First, having a kit with some basics in it can help you get through that initial 72 hours and maybe keep the event from becoming an emergency.
Here are three things that are good to have in your kit;
- Water - You will want one gallon of water per person per day. If you have 3 people, then you need 9 gallons of water. If you have pets, don’t forget they will need water too!
- Batteries - Or some sort of back up power supply. Many of us get news and info from our phones or other electronic devices so be sure that you have a way to charge them. There are portable charges you can use, and you will want some way to keep your device charged for three days. Some sort of solar charging device might be the answer
- Lighting - Be prepared to have some sort of lighting source, whether it is candles, flashlight or some other alternative lighting. A non-flammable source is the best bet so you don’t have to worry about creating another issue with starting a fire.
Next, having a family plan to address how your family will handle communication, reunification and shelter in case of an emergency is crucial. Your family plan should include these three steps;
- Communication - A communication plan should include; phone numbers of emergency contacts, addresses and what order you will contact each person. Knowing where they are during the day, work, school or home, might also change how you will get a hold of them.
- Reunification - If you aren’t able to get a hold of each other, than it is good to have a place you all know you will go to meet up. Be prepared to have a back up meeting place in case the first one is affected by the events that are going on.
- Shelter - Where will you stay if your main place of residence is in habitable? This might be your backup meeting place, family or friends in the area. Think of places outside your area that might not be effected by the same event that is effecting you. Keep in mind that it could be short or long term and determine if that will effect your plans.
The key to any situation having the best outcome is to practice a head of time. The event might not happen the way you practice, but at least you will have put thought into it and know where to start. Be ready to improvise and be thinking ahead.
There is no, “one-fits-all” type of plan. Every family is different and each situation is different. But by putting some thought into some basics a head of time, you will at least have that initial stepping stone in place to get you started. These are just a few tips, there are many more things that can be done.
There are lots of good sources of information to help you get prepared. You can look on the Red Cross web site, check in with your local fire or police department or local emergency preparedness office.
I am more than happy to help get you started creating your own family plan if you need, please feel free to contact me.
Be prepared and be safe.