National Preparedness Month: Week 1 & 2
Week #1 – September 1st-5th, Goal: Make A Plan.
The goal of this week can be accomplished in 4 simple steps.
Step #1- Put a Plan Together
Different areas of the county are more at risk for different types of natural disasters. Your first step to put together a plan is to assess what disasters are the most heavy in your area, and make a list. Once you have a list, it will then help you with the rest of the steps.
With your list in mind, ask yourself these questions.
•How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
•What is my shelter plan?
•What is my evacuation plan?
•What is my household communication plan?
•Do I need to update my emergency preparedness kit?
This will help you identify anything you may have forgotten, and help you find holes in your plan.
Step #2- Consider Specific Needs in Your Household
You can easily look up lists of items to have on hand in case of an emergency, but this step makes your supplies list specific to your family’s needs. Look at each member, and think of any daily items they may need that is not on the list. This can include the daily care of infants/small children, elderly family members, how each member communicates, pets, or anyone with specialized medical equipment or medicine. Having these items on hand is very important when disaster strikes, and you may not be able to easily obtain them.
Step #3- Fill Out a Family Emergency Plan
Above is the Family Emergency Plan that ready.gov has put out to use. Whether you choose to use this one or not, it is a great reference in what information to have!
Step #4- Practice Your Plan with Your Family/Household
Now that you have your plan started, practicing and running over this plan thoroughly will help you identify any other weaknesses. It may also help your family members feel safe and comfortable after discussing this hard topic, especially with small children. Making sure they feel fully prepared and safe is a great way to put their minds at ease!
Week #2 – September 6th-12th, Goal: Build A Kit
The goal of an emergency kit is to help your family survive without assistance for at least 3 days.
Basic Kit Items:
•Water (for each person)
•Food (for each person) Hand crank can opener
•Cell phone chargers & a backup, portable battery
•First aid kit
•Dust masks & cloth masks
•Battery operated radio and/or weather radio
•Wrench & pliers (for cutting off emergency lines)
•Plastic sheeting & duct tape
Additional items to consider including:
•Sleeping bag or blanket for each person
•Complete change of clothing for each person (including shoes)
•Activities for any children
•Soap & hand sanitizer
•Matches (make sure to store in a waterproof container!)
•Personal hygiene products
•Disposable paper products
•Prescription & over the counter medication
•Contact lens solution (if applicable)
•Copies of important family documents, in waterproof container or saved electronically
•If applicable: formula, bottles, diapers, wipes & diaper rash cream
•If applicable: pet food & water
Maintaining Your Home Kit:
Now that your kit is stocked and ready to go, you will need to update it regularly. A good idea is to update the kit each time you take a look at your emergency plan you created last week. This ensures it is kept up to date, and all items are ready to be used at any time. This also gives you the chance to update any specific items. For example: if an infant no longer needs bottles, remove those items from the kit to save room. You may then need to add in some jars of baby food.
Now that you are on a roll, consider making smaller kits for work, and to keep in your vehicle. These kits should be much smaller and are a lot easier to create.
Your Work Kit should prepare you to stay at work for at least 24 hours. Also include a comfortable pair of walking shoes in this kit, as you may not be wearing comfortable shoes at work when an emergency takes place.
Your Car Kit should always be in all cars you may have. This kit should include jumper cables, flares or reflective triangles, an ice scraper, extra cell phone charger (with car charger), blanket, map and cat litter or sand (to help you gain traction if stuck).