Want to be prepared for a disaster? Have a plan.
In honor of National Preparedness Month, I want to focus on the importance of being ready for a disaster. Nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks they’re going to be facing an emergency that day. Yet sometimes these situations are unavoidable. When you’re involved in a dangerous situation and your adrenaline is pumping, it can be difficult to keep a clear head. Having a clear plan to follow ahead of time can help you stay calm.
So what are the steps you should take to be prepared?
Discuss with family, friends, or members of your household.
Think about which types of disasters could affect your area, and what to do if you are not all together when disaster strikes. Some questions to ask yourselves include:
- How will we receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is our shelter plan? What is our evacuation route?
- What is our family/household communication plan?
- Do we need to update our emergency preparedness kit?
Resources for answering these questions can be found here.
Also, be sure to check CDC guidelines to consider how coronavirus could affect disaster planning.
Consider the specific needs of your household.
Things to think about include ages and abilities of family members, any medications, special food, or medical equipment needed in the event of an emergency, as well as any religious, language, or cultural considerations. Be sure to consider where people may be during an emergency event—school, work, or other highly-frequented areas—and don’t forget about pets or service animals! Responsibilities should be discusses ahead of time, so everyone knows their role.
Fill out a Family Emergency Plan.
A Family Emergency Plan can be found here to use as a guide to create your own.
Practice your plan with your family and/or household.
Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to high-stress situations. Practice with everyone involved, in multiple scenarios. This way, you’ll be less likely to freeze if you’re really faced with an emergency. Additional resources can be found under Step 4 here.
If the current pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t always predict what will happen in the future, or how events will affect us. While of course, we hope it never happens to us, being prepared can prove invaluable if we ever do find ourselves facing a disaster.