Since I have a job in Emergency Preparedness, I thought I might post a blog about how you can prepare your family for a disaster. It might just come in handy (though I honestly hope not) now that we're entering the most active part of Hurricane Season.
1. Make a plan
~Consider what events are most likely to occur in your area. Think about the different ways to respond to a natural disaster (hurrincae, tornado, flood, etc), terrorist event (9/11/01), or a major public health emergency (Avian Influenza outbreak).
~Know who you will contact. Ask an out of state friend or relative to be your "family contact" so other family members can call this person for updates from you in case you are unavailable.
~Know where you will meet. Pick 2 places--one right outside your house in case of a sudden emergency (like a fire), and the other outside of your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Everyone should know the address & phone # of this location.
~Know where you will stay. Discuss the possibility of evacuation the area or sheltering in place (staying where you are aka "riding it out"). Develop a plan for kids in daycare and/or school, older adults, those with special needs and/or assistance. Don't forget to plan for the care of your pets as well. Most shelters do not generally accept animals.
2. Make a kit In the event that you have to shelter in place, the following items are considered essential in the event of an emergency.
~Water--You will need 1 gallon of water per person for a minimum of 3 days
~Non-perishable food--consider pop-top lidded cans of pasta, tuna, soup, etc. You should have a 3-5 day supply of food for each person.
~Clothes--At least 1 change of clothes (including footwear) for each person, which is seasonally appropriate.
~Medications--3 days worth of any medicines you are currently taking
~Flashlight & extra batteries for use when there is no electricity
~Manual can opener (in case you forgot to purchase pop-top lidded cans)
~Radio--Battery powered for listening to news & weather reports in case electricity is out.
~Hygiene items--Basics like soap, toilet paper & a toothbrush
~First aid basics like antiseptic, gloves, bandages & non-prescription medicines (Tylenol, Benadryl, etc)
Sources: Red Cross, FEMA, CDC, Homeland Security, Disaster Help