Is Your Family Prepared For an Emergency?
Tornado. Flood. Acts of Violence. Zika or Ebola virus. It seems like we are being affected by disasters of some kind more than ever before. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges everyone to follow key steps to prepare for future emergencies.
- Get a kit. Start building your own disaster supply kit. Include basic items such as food and water, medications, first aid supplies, pet food, and important papers. Keep your kit in a safe location in your home and update it every now and then.
- Make a plan. Families should prepare a plan of action in the case of different emergencies. Before making your disaster plan, it’s important to know what types of emergencies are likely in your area and the best way to respond. For example, if tornadoes are common in your area, you will need to know what the warning signs are and where to take shelter. Check with our local Red Cross at: Dayton Area Red Cross (www. Redcross.org) 370 West 1st Street, Dayton, OH, 45402 937-222-6711
- Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster. For example, during an earthquake you will need to "drop, cover, and hold on" under a sturdy desk or table. However, during a tornado, you would need to seek shelter in a lower level room without windows. You can learn more about different types of disasters at: http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/index.
- Choose multiple meeting places. Different disasters may require you to go to different places. Make sure you choose a meeting place in your neighborhood, a meeting place just outside your neighborhood, and a meeting place out of town.
- Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways to get out of each room.
- Determine how you will contact each other. Cell phones, land lines, internet may be inop-erable – so make an alternate plan.
- PRACTICE. Review these plans with all members of your family. Practice your disaster plans by running drills with the whole family.
- Don't Forget Pets! Think about what you would do with your pets, because they may not be allowed in emergency shelters. For more information, check out:
- Get your kids ready
- Teach children how and when to call 911 for help.
- Quiz your kids on the plan to make sure they remember what to do.
- Include your kids in planning and drills.
- Know before you go. Plan for how you will address the 5 P’s in case you need to evacuate: People, Prescriptions, Papers, Personal Needs, Priceless Items.
- Be proactive! Before an emergency occurs, learn about what can be helpful when different disasters hit. Do you need the same things for a flood as you would for a tornado? Know the signs of different disasters so in the event of an emergency, you are prepared to act quickly.
- Get involved. Volunteer to support disaster relief efforts in your community, start a pre-paredness project, or donate money and goods to organizations that assist in these emergency relief efforts.
- Prepare Child ID kits. Email digital photos of all family members to extended relatives and/or friends. Update photos of children every 6 months. Make copies of important documents (e.g. birth certificates) and mail them to a friend or relative, and give your children identification information to carry with them in case of an emergency. If your child has special health care needs, prepare an emergency information form that lists important meds, treatments and care guidelines that may be needed if evacuated or sheltered away from primary caregivers.
- You can never fully prepare for everything that might happen, but taking some simple steps ahead of time can make a big difference in your ability to cope and bounce back if a disaster ever happens.
Prayer: God, keep us safe and give us the wisdom and strength to prepare for emergencies that may affect our family and our community.
Source: www.emergency.cdc.gov and www.elpna.org
Beth Ewing, RN, serves as the Parish Nurse for both Abiding Christ and the Lutheran Saints in Ministry.