Emergencies of all kinds can happen at any moment. If you don’t prepare ahead of time, you are more likely to freeze than act effectively. These tips will help you learn what you can do right now in case the worst happens.
Make a Disaster Kit
If an emergency takes place, you won’t have time to gather supplies. You might be able to grab a few things, but you will most likely end up missing some essential items. To fix this problem, create two disaster kits: the main one for your home and a smaller one for your car.
When preparing your kit, plan for at least a five-day supply of necessities for each member of your family. Pack essentials such as food and water, a change of clothes, hygiene supplies, a first aid kit and anything else your family might need. Items should be sealed in airtight plastic bags. Your kit should be clearly marked and every family member should know where it is. There are several ideas online for things you could put in a family emergency kit. Some organizations like the American Red Cross have lists of suggestions, or you can buy one that is already prepared for you.
Develop a Communication Plan
The idea behind an effective communication plan is that every family member will know where to meet up and who to contact in the event of an emergency. Create a list of emergency contacts that your family can call. At least one of these should be out of state in case there is an evacuation. Help your children memorize a few of the most important numbers. While the ability to store numbers in our phones has decreased the need to memorize them, it’s entirely possible one of your family members could be without their phone in an emergency.
For extra safety, put important numbers on a laminated wallet card and give one to each member of your family. These will be advantageous for people assisting your family member if they are too young or unable to communicate themselves.
Plan Out Escape Routes
If an emergency was happening in your home, how would your family get out? The National FIre Protection Association recommends that you learn how to make an escape plan and work on it together with your family. Walk around your house and identify possible exit points. Are all family members able to escape from every room? If not, what can you change or fix to make sure that there is an exit?
Consider every possible emergency when deciding on escape routes. You might escape from a fire in a different way than you would escape from an intruder. Designate a safe place where your family will meet up outside the home. To make sure everyone understands what to do, consider drawing a diagram of your house and marking different routes to take. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.
Lock the Door During the Day
Burglaries during the day may seem strange, but more burglaries happen during the day than at night. According to ADT, there are roughly 2.5 million burglaries a year, 66 percent of those being home break-ins, with most of those occurring during the daytime. Breaking in during the day is appealing to burglars because there is less chance of someone being home, thus decreasing their chance of being caught. One of the first steps in preventing a break-in is to lock your door during the day. Make sure any other possible entry points, such as windows, are locked as well.
Involve Your Children
Having a plan in place for emergencies isn’t effective if everyone in the family doesn’t know what to do. As you prepare, involve your kids in the process. Have them help you prepare the disaster kit. Talk with them about who they should call if they are separated from you. Let them walk the house with you when you are deciding on escape plans. Practice the escape plans together.
Discuss different emergency scenarios with your child and teach them what to do. They don’t have to be bystanders, either. Learn what age-appropriate emergency tasks your kids can perform, and make sure they know how to do it. You will minimize their chances of panicking, and they could potentially help save a life.
By preparing in advance, you are giving your family the best chances of handling an emergency if it happens. While you hopefully won’t need to use your escape plan or disaster kit, having these precautions set in place will make your family more likely to make effective decisions in times of crisis.