No matter what part of the world you live in, there’s always a severe weather risk of some kind. It’s important to have a family emergency plan of some sort. Living in Florida for over 20 years, I’ve become used to living half the year under a hurricane watch, along with being the lightning capital of the country as well experiencing occasional tornadoes. I’ve done some prep here and there but overall, I got complacent about creating an serious family emergency plan.
Until this year. In April we had crazy drought conditions and there were a number of wildfires in our county alone. The grass in our yard completely died. As an asthma patient, I always know where my inhaler is but I also started to carry a bandana in case the smoke got bad. It got me to thinking about what I would do in the event of a sudden evacuation and got me thinking about creating a real family emergency plan. We always have to be on guard during the peak of hurricane season which is about mid-August through October.
If you already have a family emergency plan in place, take a few minutes to review it, check your supplies and make sure everything is still up to date and ready to use.
Know The Natural Disaster Risks In Your Area
You’re probably aware of what natural emergencies and disaster are likely to affect your area. But don’t ever rule anything out. For example, I grew up in New York City and while we occasionally had a run-in with the outskirts of a hurricane, I never knew the city could be hit with a storm with the severity of Hurricane Sandy. It was an eye opener. Most recently Texas has had to deal with the unthinkable horror of Hurricane Harvey. We live on the other side of the Gulf and the same scenario could very well play out here some day.
Start now and read up on how best to prepare for every possible situation that could affect you..even if it’s never happened in your area before. This information will become the basis for your family emergency plan.
Do you have pets or family members with special needs? It’s important to develop a plan with their needs in mind too. It’s overwhelming to think about having to hunker down or even evacuate but start thinking about it now.
Where’s Your Household Safe Spot?
If you’re going to ride out bad weather or any other emergency in your home, you should identify a designated safe spot. When the unexpected happens, you don’t want to make a bad decision under stress. Think about the safest spot now and be sure that everyone else in your house knows it too.
Depending on the location, you can even stash a little emergency kit with a flashlight, emergency radio, and little bit of food and water in the room or nearby just in case. The optimal place in your home might vary according to what kind of emergency. Refer back to your list and research from step one to make an educated decision.
Designate A Meeting Spot Should You Be Required To Leave
Some natural disasters and manmade emergencies will require you to evacuate. Don’t be lulled into complacency. We live 30 miles inland from the coast and never expected to be impacted by flooding, but during one bad year the water took our road out and we had a voluntary evacuation.
The best thing is to come up with safe meeting spots well ahead of time. If you have family within a reasonable driving distance, make arrangements with them if you can. Hotels can be great places to ride out storms but they start to fill up fast. Stay on top of the news and have your plans in place early on.
After you’ve done this, make sure each family member, including your children, knows where to meet up. You never know when disaster or an emergency may strike and who may be where. If your kids are staying over a friend’s house or are at school, you want to make sure they know where to meet you.
Keep Emergency Contact Info On You At All Times
This should include all cell phone numbers of immediate family, along with landline numbers for friends or relatives who live further away.
It’s also a good idea to exchange email addresses. Make sure you use web based emails such as gmail that can be accessed from anywhere. For example, during the hours after 9/11 it was almost impossible to make a phone call. Text messaging is another possibility when calls don’t go through. Having several options to stay in touch with your family and close friends is best. Things are always changing..right now you can use relevant Twitter hashtags to communicate and Facebook neighborhood groups to stay updated.
Create a Grab and Go Binder
This is the best quick online resource I’ve found to help you create a grab and go binder in a hurry.
Food, Water, First Aid & Medications
Always plan to have some emergency rations on hand. Keep enough clean water, food and important daily medications that you may need around to last for several days. If you live in a high risk area, planning for two weeks isn’t unreasonable. The types of supplies and how long you should plan for for will vary from family to family and emergency to emergency.
If you live with chronic illness or have a loved one with special needs, it’s even more important to be prepared. If you take daily meds, have a schedule and the meds in one place so that you can grab them. Always have your insurance card and emergency numbers organized on your phone so you can find them. If your immune system is compromised, have the appropriate sanitary products. If you use feminine hygiene products, have those easily available too.
Here’s a few recommendations to help you get started prepping.
Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Every Day Disasters and Worst Case scenarios (LOVE this book! Very mom friendly.)
To Think About…
Ready America 70280 Emergency Kit, 2 Person 3 Day Backpack
Generators – How convenient is it to be able to order one from Amazon? This is one suggestion, but please be sure to research carefully beforehand. Know all the important safety precautions of using a generator. Living where I do I can tell you it’s great peace of mind to have one as the season starts though in our family we invariably buy one when we see a storm approaching and then take it back when it goes the other way. Bad prep mom!
Solar phone charger – It’s great to have one of these around if you’re at risk for extended power outages.
Emergency window breaker – if you live in an area around water or prone to flooding, this is a must.
Do what you can to be prepared..even small steps put you ahead of the game.
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