We are once again in September and it’s National Preparedness Month. If you are not aware, September is the month dedicated to preparing and educating people on disasters. Natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes can occur without notice. That is why being ready for anything is important.
The first thing to have when a disaster strikes is a meeting spot or evacuation center. This could be the nearest fire station or a 24-hour grocery store that are a safe distance away from your home. These meeting spots may depend on the event but it’s important to establish a place and have a solid plan ahead of time. Once you have this setup, it’s time to think about other possible scenarios.
Here are some ways to prepare yourself and your family:
Preparation starts at home
Develop a family disaster plan. Like mentioned earlier, plan a place to evacuate should any disaster arises. If you are separated when an emergency occurs, plan how you will reconnect. Make a disaster kit. This should contain essential items to survive 3 to 5 days. Drinking water, first aid kit, identification documents, non-perishable food, flashlights, and battery-operated radios are some of the things you should pack.
Stay updated and informed
Information is available for everyone. It can be from federal, state, or local resources. Stay informed and learn what to do before, during, and after a disaster.
Help others as well
Most municipalities in the US have a disaster response and recovery plan made by the local government. If you want to help out, you can be an affiliate with an agency that is engaged in disaster response and relief.
Do not stop preparing
Disasters occur without any prior notice so it’s best to be prepared at all times. Revisit and update your family disaster plans time and time again. Change the supplies in the disaster kit so the food and water stay fresh. Being prepared will give you more chances of survival, it is key.
Some situations you can prepare for:
This is scary whether you are at home or not. Know how to protect your home from potential invasions to keep you and your family safe. You can start by checking the locks on your doors and windows. Secure any pet entrances and purchase a security system for your home. The presence of even one security camera will chase away burglars. If a break in happens and you are at home, here are a few things to remember.
- Stay calm and collected. Don’t panic. You will feel an adrenaline rush, use it to help you stay alert.
- Go to a safe room and call 911.
- If in the event, your safe room is not accessible, have evacuation plans. This can be window ladders or back door routes.
- Do not engage with the intruder. Do not let them know that you’ve called for help.
- Another thing to remember is to keep your car keys close to you so that you can hit the panic button on it. This will create a distraction and alert the neighbors.
- In case of an extreme situation, it would be good to have self-defense knowledge.
Responding to a situation like this is to practice. It’s important that you can think straight so that you will know how to defend your family and keep them safe.
Be sure that your home has the correct amount of fire alarms as this is the first line of defense. Practice setting them off and educating family members on what they should do if this alarm rings. Make an evacuation plan in your home and assign tasks to family members. In situations like this, it is very important to not panic. Make sure everyone is accounted for, even the pets, and then call 911 for help. If there is thick smoke, use something like a shirt to cover your mouth and nose to avoid inhaling it. If in the event, your clothing catches fire, know how to stop, drop and roll. Practice these safety measures so that if this disaster happens, family members will know how to respond.
If you live somewhere that’s prone to flooding, it’s good to know the warning signs and how to evacuate to a safe place. If you find your family and yourself trapped once the flood has begun, know that you should never enter fast flowing water on foot or in a vehicle. This can get you hurt or worse.
When water has flooded in your home, disconnect all electrical appliances and turn off your main electricity. Move furniture and other valuable stuff to higher ground. Depending on the frequency of the flood, it may be worth it to flood-proof your home.
Being prepared is the key to being safe from disasters. Take these simple actions and teach them to your family. Stay alert, stay safe!