Even though we don’t have to personally deal with another hurricane making landfall again along our coast, we may have to deal with other disasters. Do you have a plan for your home in case some disaster would happen? What would you do if you had no power for eight days? How would you prepare food? How would you keep your children warm?
I know the value of being prepared whether it be for taking a test, teaching a class or packing for a vacation. I make lists, check them twice and am packed and ready to go well in advance. I make plans well in advance and set goals to achieve the things I want to do.
Why should it be any different when it comes to being prepared for an emergency? Our job as parents is to ensure the safety and well-being of our children. We can do this by putting a plan in place and collecting basic necessities for our family members, including our pets.
Here are some easy steps to help prepare your family for a disaster. Remember, a disaster could be one of many (snowstorm, fire, tornado, earthquake, flood, etc.)
Create an Emergency Kit
Create an emergency kit with supplies for at least 72 hours for each person and pet in your home. Be sure to include children in packing. The kit should be convenient and portable.
- Water – one gallon per person per day.
- Three day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener – think of food which does not need cooked.
- A hand crank, battery powered NOAA weather radio with tone alerts and extra batteries.
- A flashlight and extra batteries.
- Cell phone charger. Consider buying an external battery for cell phones.
- First aid kit.
- Basic needs such as clothing personal items, prescription medicine, contacts or glasses, toys, etc.
- Emergency blankets.
- Work gloves.
- Copies of your vital records, phone numbers and address book.
Practice Family Drills
Those with little kids should practice family drills so you and your children feel confident about what to do. My suggestion would be to practice on the first day of each season – or more often.
Walk your child through what to do in case of emergency. How do you get outside (doors, windows, other exits), where do you meet, who can you call, etc. Actively participating in a drill will make it easier for your child to remember in the event of an emergency.
Follow the drill with a reflection conversation. Ask questions and be ready to learn from your kids, too. How they see the world can be so helpful in disaster planning.
Protect Critical Documents
Store your critical documents in a waterproof, fireproof location (birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, insurance information, etc.).