By Mark Conner
Creating an emergency plan for the occurrence of a natural disaster can be a scary and stressful thing; however, in many parts of the world, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and mudslides cause millions of dollars worth of damage and, even worse, loss of life. As such, it’s important to form a plan and go over it with your family so that everyone is on the same page, especially if you live in an area that is at high risk for natural disasters. If you need a little motivation to get started, try setting the Time Timer, ordering a pizza, and doing it as a family. Thinking about everything from how to keep your pets safe to where your family should meet if you get separated will help give you peace of mind and will keep the ones you love from harm.
Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to formulate a good disaster awareness plan. Think about the area you live in and what you’re most at risk for; plan ahead with supplies, especially during storm season, so that if you lose power or are stuck inside your home for a few days, you’ll be ready. Communicate with your family so they’re well informed on what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency.
Seem overwhelming, and not-so-fun to think about it? Try ordering a pizza, getting the family together, and setting the Time Timer. This way, you can get a big portion of the plan done and everyone will be on the same page if something were to happen. Get the whole family involved wherever appropriate!
Follow these important tips to get started.
1. Get Your Medical Paperwork in Order
Even if you and your loved ones don’t have any health issues, it’s a good idea to get all your medical paperwork in order and organize it. Separate each family member’s documents in a bag and keep them together (or use photocopies) along with your other important items. These documents might include lists of allergies, prescription history, a list of any drugs that are currently being taken, doctor information, and any health issues that require attention (such as diabetes). Having the documents with you will be extremely helpful should you find yourself injured or ill while displaced from your home following a natural disaster.
2. Designate an Emergency Contact
In case of emergency, you’ll want to have someone you can get in touch with when disaster hits and you don’t have a way to contact your loved ones. This should be someone who lives far enough away from you that they wouldn’t be impacted by the disaster and can act as a sort of touchstone for your family in case you get separated. Make sure everyone in the family is aware of who the contact is and have them memorize their phone number. You can also utilize social media to let your friends and family know you’re okay after a disaster.
3. Help Your Senior Loved Ones
In the event of a disaster, seniors are often the largest group affected simply because of mobility or driving issues. Help your senior loved one prepare a disaster plan, and make sure they know the best ways to stay safe. For instance, you might help them choose a smartphone and teach them how to use all the features on it. Also, help them create an emergency kit that will keep them safe and comfortable should they be forced to stay in their home for an extended period of time. This might include batteries, clean water, non-perishable food items, and extra medication.
4. Get Familiar with Resources
After a natural disaster occurs, there are often many businesses and corporations that will step in and help survivors and their loved ones. Get familiar with all the resources at your disposal by doing a little research online, and make a list of those available in your area.
5. Assess Your Home
In the event of a disaster that can be predicted, such as a tornado or hurricane, it’s important to assess your home — both inside and outside — for any dangers that could be removed. High winds can turn items such as loose patio umbrellas or grills into projectiles, which can cause quite a bit of damage or even injury. Remove any loose items from around the exterior of your home and take precautions such as boarding up windows where necessary.
Creating an emergency plan can help you keep yourself and your loved ones safe should a natural disaster befall your area, but it’s important to remember to keep communication open as well. Go over the plan with your entire family and make sure everyone has it memorized so that if the time comes, there will be no issues.