Disaster Prep: 4 Ways Families Can Prepare for the Unexpected

Unexpected emergencies come in all forms and sizes. Depending on the weather patterns in the area, families may be faced with hurricanes, tornadoes or blizzards. Family members may injure themselves or become ill requiring immediate first aid. Regardless of the emergency, a few simple steps will allow the family to be better prepared for the unexpected.

Have a Kit

Being prepared for weather or medical events includes having the right items on hand. The various parts of the kit include first aid for injuries and medicine for illness. Another important part of an emergency kit is a packet of important papers. Having copies of family and business documents include insurance, birth certificates, evidence of household belongings, and account numbers. Some kits may include food supplies, water, gasoline and propane and flashlights with extra batteries.

Have a Plan

Especially important for families with children is the need for a plan. Families should discuss the different things that can happen and what they are going to do. For small children, this should not be done to cause fear. Keep it simple, but teach children to call for help, learn their address and other phone number, and the name of family members or friends to call in emergency. The family also needs to have an evacuation plan that includes a meet-up location in case of separation.

Install a Generator

Many weather related emergencies involve loss of power to the house. The installation of a backup generator provides the assurance that many of the basic functions can continue while power is restored. It is important to install the generator in a location outside of the living area where ample ventilation is available.

Practice the Plan

Practicing the plan is also an important part of family readiness for weather or medical emergencies. Taking a first aid course, replenishing expired medicines, and checking flashlights for batteries and other items should be done annually. Discussing and practicing the evacuation of the house and arriving at the meet-up location are also important. Checking and running the generator for a short time periodically will keep it in good working order. Updating pictures and personal documents should also be done annually.

Family emergencies can occur at any time and are usually not expected. By being well prepared, the family can meet the challenge more easily with less stress on children and adults alike.

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