… AND WITHOUT WARNING!
Today’s technology is really amazing. Scientists can predict the course of a rain storm or hurricane with a pretty high level of accuracy. Natural disasters such as an earthquake or tornado may be a bit more difficult. And others, such as fires or floods, are even harder to predict, if at all. Still in every case, there are things we can do to ready ourselves.
1) IDENTIFY POTENTIAL DISASTERS in your community, such as: tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, transportation accidents, snow and ice, power failure, chemical spills, etc. Then, educate yourself and your family about these disasters (not to frighten them, but to know correct responses should they occur.) It might even help to find out what safeguards your community already has in place, such as warning systems and/or locations of tornado shelters, etc.
2) Depending on the potential disaster(s), DETERMINE YOUR NEEDS in case such an event occurs. Consider water, food, shelter, extra cash, medicines and first aid, baby or pet needs, escape routes, tools and equipment, transportation, communications, and so on. Create a list BY your family FOR your family, writing it down on paper. This way, family members will better remember all that was planned and what is available should disaster strike when there could be a sense of confusion, extreme stress, or panic. Make it a “project” rather than a “doomsday” preparation.
3) BEGIN STOCKPILING your food, first aid supplies, water, equipment, etc. and decide where these items would best be stored for easy access, out of harms way. Be sure to include your printed list as mentioned above. Also, include a list of any important phone numbers (emergency resources, family contacts, etc.) Don’t forget to update your supplies from time to time to reflect expiration dates on food and the changing needs within your family. (More on this, including lists, in other posts.)
4) Don’t forget to EDUCATE YOUR FAMILY, a very important part of your family disaster plan. This provides experience and a level of confidence in a non-threatening atmosphere. For example, don’t wait until disaster strikes to learn a piece of equipment or try to find the shut-off for the gas. Your family should know how to turn off the gas or electricity (main breaker) and know the procedure if gas can be smelled in the house. Also, consider taking a first aid course through the American Red Cross or similar organizations. Good to know even now. Teach older children how to replace batteries in a flashlight, how to light a lantern, candles or camp stove, and teach them how to read a compass or map. It is extremely important that you decide on two possible rendezvous sites where your family can meet up following an emergency; one at home (yours or a neighbor’s yard) or nearby at a predetermined location such as a business/store or even just down the street on the corner. Decide on escape routes in your home in case of fire. Learn what you should do in a lightning storm or if you’re out and a tornado hits. Many were saved from the 2004 tsunami because someone recognized the pre-conditions of the ocean and cried out a warning. Often, communications can be cut off and during a large crisis, the public may not be able to place phone calls outside the affected area. Designate an out-of-state contact person; a family member or friend who can receive and provide information about your family. Educate yourself as to what is available in communication resources, then take the steps to help assure your family’s safety.
The more you do now to prepare your family for what may come, the greater sense of peace and empowerment you will have when it arrives.
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