Seven Emergency Preparedness Tips You May Not Know About

This is National Readiness Month , which means it’s time to make sure you are prepared for whatever comes your way. Emergency preparedness is not about doomsday preparation, but about realistic events that could disrupt life at any time. Here are a few lesser known things you should do when making an emergency plan for yourself and your family.

Tune in to receive warning messages in your area

You don’t have to follow the news to stay updated. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) allows officials to easily send important messages across multiple channels using its Integrated Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), including text messaging.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are free 90-character text messages that local authorities can send to mobile devices within range of any cell towers in the affected area. You do not need to register to receive WEA, but you do need to ensure that your phone – and your backup phone, if you have one – can receive them . Some prepaid and “recording” phones may receive these as well, so be sure to check before buying one to ditch your emergency kit.

To increase the number of alerts, check with your jurisdiction if they have their own public address system. Most of these systems send alerts by text and / or email and allow you to choose the types of alerts and the device you receive them on. However, each jurisdiction is different, so do a web search like “[city, city or county name] + emergency messages” to find out how you can register. You should also check with your local emergency department or public safety department. And make sure everyone in the family can receive alerts and warnings , not just you.

Create meeting places for multiple families

It’s important to stick together in an emergency, so find some places where your family can reunite if you’ve been apart and stay safe. In total, you need to choose four locations :

  1. Indoor Meeting Space: In the event of natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and other storms, provide a dedicated meeting space in your home for everyone to go to. A small room with no windows, such as a closet or bathroom, a safe room, or a basement are good examples.
  2. Neighborhood Meeting Point: In case you and your family have to leave home, or if you all split up in the hustle and bustle, pick a location in an area where everyone knows where to meet. A large tree, a letter box, a road end, or a neighbor’s house will do.
  3. Meeting point in the region: Tell them that you and your partner are at work when the disaster strikes and your children are at school. In this case, you should have a meeting place in a non-residential place somewhere in the area where everyone can meet. This could be a library, place of worship, community center, or even a relative’s home.
  4. Meeting point outside the city: Some natural disasters require evacuation, so it is recommended to have a safe meeting point outside the region. The homes of relatives or family friends are ideal, but you can also choose a hotel that is easy to reach or another attraction that everyone is familiar with.

Make sure all of these places are accessible to everyone in your family, including people with pets and people with disabilities. If you live in a city and do not have a car, make sure you have time to establish train routes and backup routes to meeting points. FEMA has an emergency plan form that you can fill out and give to anyone who needs it.

Make a family communication plan

When disaster strikes, communication is everything. Emergency staff will be stressed out trying to mitigate the damage and help those who really need it, so they won’t have time to help you find people or contact them. However, having a family communication plan can make it easier and safer for those you care about.

First, create a paper copy of important information for each member of your family. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that each document contains the following information :

  • Name, date of birth, SSN, phone number, and important health information for each family member.
  • Insurance information
  • Medical contacts
  • Work and school information for each family member
  • Country contact
  • All your scheduled meeting points

You can make your own or print this form and fill it out . Make copies and keep them in your medicine cabinet, car, wallet, wallet, and backpack. There is even a foldable wallet-sized bag that you can fill up and carry with you at all times. Keep one on a note, or hide it in an easily accessible place in your home. It’s also a good idea to put some of this information on your phone or other device, but don’t rely on that.

Once everyone has the information they need, create a phone tree so people know who to call when something happens. Everyone can be different, so find a free template (like the one above) or create your own and have everyone in your family fill it out together. Ideally, everyone should have two people with whom they always come in contact in an emergency. Then these two people have two people to contact, and so on.

Make sure everyone in your family has an ICE card

An ICE or Emergency Card is a small piece of paper that contains important information about you and your health in case you are disabled. At a minimum, your ICE card must include your name, gender, blood type, vital medical information (such as prescriptions you are taking or details of any allergies you have), and emergency contact information at least two people. You can create your own, or use a free web tool like geticecard.com to create and print it (you can leave it blank and click Create Card for a blank template.)

Making a pair and keeping one in each bag is not a bad idea and should definitely be in your car. AAA has a free template that you can use to paste it into your glove box. Also, if possible, you should fill out health and medical information on your smartphone. For example, the Health app on iPhone lets you create a list of allergies, reactions, blood groups, and emergency contacts that first responders can view by swiping the lock screen and tapping Ambulance. List at least one contact on each family member’s phone as Emergency or ICE so someone can instantly identify who your emergency contact is.

Make a travel bag for everyone in your family

You are probably familiar with the concept of a hiking bag or “bug bag” and you may already have one. But one bag for the whole family is not the best option. Each member of your family, including children, the elderly and especially the disabled , should have their own seat, adapted to their individual needs. Thus, if people disperse, they will have everything they need to survive.

FEMA recommends that a basic travel bag or emergency kit include bottled water, non-perishable food, battery operated or manual winding radio, NOAA weather radio , flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit, whistle, dust mask, etc. wet wipes , trash bags and plastic ties (for personal hygiene), a wrench or pliers, a can opener, location maps, and a mobile phone charger. A prepaid cell phone is also a great addition. Then take into account the individual needs of each person.

If someone needs medication, try to hide at least three days to a week, as well as a copy of their prescriptions. You may need to tell your doctor that you are doing this so that he can write you a prescription (or supplement) for additional services or provide sample packs you can hide. Don’t forget to bring baby food and diapers with you . Pack food and extra water for the pets (or pack their own travel bag ) as the shelters will be overcrowded and unable to accept them. If someone wears contact lenses or glasses, carry an extra pair of glasses and contact lenses plus solution. bag. An old couple or a recipe will do – it is better to see, than not to see at all.

Write down your credit and debit card numbers and security codes on a piece of paper to keep in your bag, and make sure there is some cash in each bag. Card systems can fail, so there are small denominations (1, 5 and 10 dollars) and some changes. And, if you can help, try to keep your travel bag from looking like a travel bag . If your bag looks like it has survival gear in it, it could make you a target for those who weren’t prepared and desperate.

Finally, allow each family member to add something personal to each of their bags to keep them comfortable. It can be a favorite candy, tea, toy or game, or even a book. Personal toiletries such as lotion, deodorant, extra wet wipes, extra socks, and extra underwear are also a good idea. A little comfort goes a long way during tough times, so make sure everyone has something to help them relieve stress and feel a little normal.

Keep important documents ready

Many natural disasters can wipe out all of your property, including all of your vital documents and records, if you are not careful. They should be stored in a safe place, such as a waterproof, fireproof safe, but they should also be packed together so that you can take them all in an instant. Include vital identity documents such as birth certificates and passports, medical information, and financial and legal documents that are not easy to replace. If you do not know what documents needed to be placed and prepared for taking, we will help you .

You can also store encrypted electronic copies of all your important documents on hard drives that you keep in your safe. You should also consider keeping a regularly backed up flash drive loaded with other important files (photos, working papers, etc.) Of course, you should also all be stored with a secure, encrypted cloud service , but only in case your physical backups will let you down.

Plan an emergency outfit

Emergencies can happen at any time, including when you are resting or sleeping at home. But there is a chance that jam is not the best option for getting out of the house, especially in bad weather. It is a good idea to lay out your clothes and accessories on your backpacking bag, or just inside it if you have room. The same goes for everyone in your family.

Your emergency equipment should include a good pair of shoes or boots that provide good traction in all weather conditions, pants (not shorts), a long-sleeved T-shirt, jacket, hat, and a pair of gloves. Make sure everything is made of cotton or wool so they breathe well and burn without melting in the event of a fire. It’s also a good idea to have a cotton handkerchief or bandana (or a few) to cover your face and safety glasses to protect your eyes from smoke or dust. Now you can jump out of bed and switch to survival mode almost instantly.

For more helpful tips and information on emergency preparedness, be sure to visit ready.gov ( available in 13 different languages ). They cover disaster preparedness for everything from hurricanes to cyberattacks. You can also download the FEMA app for iOS , Android and Blackberry to keep you up to date and ready as long as you have your phone.

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