Do These 5 Smart Things to Be Ready for a Family Emergency

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Nobody wants to think about the worst happening. But it’s best to be prepared! Start planning today and do these five things to be ready for a family emergency should one arise.

1.  Be Aware of Emergency Alerts

Before a disaster can strike, it’s wise to be aware of what sort of emergencies could arise in your neighborhood and how best to deal with them if they occur.The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assists during and after disaster situations like hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. Consider downloading FEMA’s app to get real-time alerts for up to five locations and additional emergency preparedness information.

Another way to stay aware of emergencies is to enable Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) on your smartphone. WEAs are short messages sent from authorized state and federal broadcasts to alert you to emergency weather conditions or AMBER alerts issued to locate missing children. You’ll recognize a WEA by its distinct sound and double vibration pattern.

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) works the same way for television. Cable or satellite TV can be interrupted by the President of the United States during a national emergency. A news station may also interrupt pre-programmed TV to update viewers on a breaking tornado.

These services do much to help you and your family be aware of any emergency in your area. Suppose you are driving in a car when bad weather starts to break or otherwise don’t have access to a phone or TV. In that case, you can access the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) to have complete coverage of emergency weather information.

2.  Make a Plan to Shelter in Place

After getting a general sense of the potential environmental disasters your family could face based on where you reside, it’s wise to make a plan in case an emergency does arise.

Shelter-in-place plans are ideal if you need to take cover during threats of a tornado or hunker down to stay safe during a pandemic. Keep in mind for more extended shelter-in-place plans that you’ll need to manage your supply of water, food, and supplies until authorities confirm the threat has passed.

Remain indoors as much as possible and try not to leave your home unless you need to get provisions or until local authorities advise you it’s okay to leave your home. If there is no weather-related emergency, you should feel free to go outside to exercise and enjoy the fresh air as long as you can confirm that you are correctly distancing yourself from others.

3.  Create a Plan to Evacuate

During weather-related emergencies, government officials will often alert you as to whether or not you should plan to evacuate your home. If they warn you to evacuate, you should be prepared to heed their advice.

One way to prepare in advance for an evacuation is to contact any out-of-town family members to ask them if you can plan to travel to them if a storm occurs in your region. Extend the same favor to them, and you both can have a sense of security knowing you have an evacuation plan in place should an emergency arise.

If an out-of-town family member isn’t an option, stay informed during weather-related emergencies so you’re not blindsided by any new developments in a storm. As soon as you hear of the upcoming storm, inquire about local shelter options. Make sure your family packs quickly and you leave a day or two before the storm touches, so you have plenty of time to evacuate. Also, plan to get your gas early, so you don’t have to wait in line at the station with the rest of the cars as they attempt to evacuate.

Because your car is your lifeline during the evacuation process, it might be wise to invest in an additional measure of security, like a siren alarm. This will grant peace of mind as you transport your loved ones and all your belongings to your temporary housing as you wait out the impending emergency. With an additional alarm on your car, you can even keep extra possessions locked in your vehicle during your time at the shelter.

4.  Write a Family Communication Plan

Communication is the best way to prepare for any emergency. Take the time to write down all vital contacts, health, and service provider information in one place so it’s readily available for you and your partner as well as your child or other family members.

Talk through this information with your child so they’re aware it exists and know where the numbers are listed. Practice your family shelter-in-place and evacuation plans. Have your child practice calling 911, so they’re comfortable with dialing the number if necessary.

5.  Build an Emergency Go-Bag

Before any emergency strikes, you can build your go-bag and have it ready to grab in the case of a developing situation. In your bag, you’ll want to include:

  • At least three days of water for all family members.
  • Non-perishable food items. Granola bars, nuts, and cereal are a great addition to any go-bag.
  • Changes of clothes and shoes for all family members.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags.
  • First aid kit and personal hygiene supplies like toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine products, contact solution, and extra eyeglasses.
  • Supplies like a flashlight, can opener, tin foil, a battery-operated radio, batteries, duct tape, plastic bags, local map, compass, matches, knives, and tools.
  • Make a file of important documents, including all driver’s licenses, passports, Social Security cards for each family member, marriage certificate, information about all family members’ health and life insurance, a record of vaccinations, register of wills, all bank and credit card account information, and the property titles of your cars and home.

Plan to Be Ready for Any Emergency

When an emergency strikes, you don’t want to be left scrambling. Take time today to make a plan, communicate with your family, and build an emergency go-bag. You’ll be grateful for the peace of mind it brings.

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