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Preparedness Tips: Is Your Family Prepared for a Disaster?

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In the case of a disaster, would your family know what to do? Where to meet? Who to call? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it’s time for your family to create a disaster plan. Disasters can happen at any time, including earthquakes, floods, terrorist attacks, and much more.
When making your disaster plan, each family member should be involved. Take the opportunity to share these ideas with your spouse and children, and create an individualized family disaster plan. Being prepared can create confidence and calm during times of chaos and confusion, which always comes with situations of disaster. Without a plan, your family could find yourselves in a horrible situation.
Remember to keep your plan simple and easily understood, so every family member knows exactly what to do. Here’s a list of ways to start the conversation in your family:
Hold a Family Night to talk to your family about getting prepared for disasters.
Talk about the emergencies that could happen in your area, and share ideas about your family will do in each situation.
Make a plan on how your family will act in case of a major disaster.
Talk about working together, and volunteer for various responsibilities. Each family member should know what his or her job will be, and be able to remember it, even in the extreme stress of a disaster. For example, one child could be in charge of getting bottles of water for the family, another child’s job could be to grab blankets…etc.
Your emergency plan must be simple and easy for every family member to understand.
If a disaster happens and family members are not all together, they should know what to do. Talk about your ideas as a family.
Discuss that importance of remaining calm.
In case of a sudden emergency, plan a meeting spot outside. For example, in a fire emergency, all family members meet at the mailbox or at a neighbor’s house.
Your family should know of an alternative meeting spot, in the case of a neighborhood emergency. It should be a place within walking distance of your neighborhood, such as a friend’s home, your church, or a store.
Memorize the address and phone number of your meeting spots, which is especially important for children who may need to give this information to an authority.
If your family members are separated in a disaster, they should know what action to take to get back together. For example, if a major earthquake occurs, and the parents are at work, children should know where to go and what number to call.
Ask a friend or relative, not living in your area, to be your family’s contact person. Each member of the family can try to get in touch with your contact to gain instruction, and to tell him/her where they are. Memorize the contact’s phone number and address as a family.
Sometimes, it is hard to make a phone call during a disaster.
Authories may ask your family to evacuate during a disaster. Make an evacuation plan.
Talk to an out-of-town friend or relative about providing your family shelter during an evacuation situation.
Learn about and plan alternative shelter options for your family, if required to evacuate.
As a family, study your local maps, to become familiar with escape routes. If main roads are blocked, your family may need to be aware of various alternatives.
Obey local authorities in case of all evacuation situations. Even if their instructions are slightly different than your family’s plan, you should always follow their direction.
Does your family have pets? If there is an evacuation, your family pet will need a place to go. Make arrangements with friends or relatives who can care for your pets. If your family is forced to go to an emergency shelter, pets may not be allowed.
Finally, refresh your family’s knowledge and understanding of disaster preparedness by regularly holding Family Home Evenings that review your disaster plan.
Thanks to Marcia Lind for allowing us to share her knowledge.

Tags: earthquake, evacuation plan, family disaster plan, family preparedness, terror attack

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