When living arrangements change, as in a relationship break up or divorce, it’s important to again access our ability to keep ourselves and our families safe in case of disaster. Natural disasters seem to be more prominent every year. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), The number of disasters has increased by a factor of five over the 50-year period of 1970 through 2019. In plain language, it has increased by a multiple of 5. If the original amount was 1 per year, an increase by a factor of 5 would mean there were now 5 per year. That is a huge increase. It’s always been important to be prepared for emergencies, but with that type of increase, creating a plan, or reviewing and existing plan is more important than ever. Let’s look at the components of an effective plan.
1. What types of emergencies should you prepare for?
Emergencies such as fire, flooding, power outages etc. can happen in any family at any time with little warning. These can also happen as part of natural disasters. In this post we will cover the preparatory steps common in facing these events.
…gathering important documents isn’t something most of us think about when we are in an emergency. Pre-planning is the key.
Certain geographical areas are prone to some specific weather-related disasters. California is susceptible to wildfires and earthquakes primarily. In the Midwest, the concern might be focused on tornado’s. The steps to be prevent or plan for natural disasters might then begin based on where you live. Below are links to prevention and planning steps for some of these weather-related disasters.
2. Important Documents
Gathering important documents isn’t something most of us think about when we are in an emergency. Pre-planning is the key. Not only gathering the documents, but either keeping copies off site, electronically on a memory stick, or in a central file that is easy to grab and go. Your document file may hold:
- Identification badges/cards
- Social Security Cards
- Birth Certificates
- Insurance Policies and ID Cards
- Divorce Decree or Separation Agreements
- Wills and Health Directives
- List of important phone numbers including personal and business contacts. Be sure to include phone numbers for doctors, clinics and utility providers. Our instinct is to rely on our cell phone. Think of this as back-up. If you can’t charge your phone, you won’t have these numbers. It’s hard to imagine not being able to use your cell, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility in an emergency.
- Digital back-ups of all your favorite family photos. These can be scanned at a local copy shop and placed on a memory stick to make this easier.
3. Emergency Medical Kit
These kits can be purchased in multiple places and are well worth the investment. Be sure to add a one-week supply of prescription drugs that your household take on a regular basis. This includes emergency prescriptions for items like epi-pens and inhalers. If you need to, discuss with your doctor the need to have an added supply on hand that can be cycled with new refills to insure its availability and effectiveness in your emergency kit.
A good first aid kit will include:
- Bandages and Cleaning Supplies
- Adhesive bandages of various sizes
- Gauze pads
- Adhesive bandage tape
- Roller bandages
- Antiseptic wipes
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Antibiotic ointment
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Latex gloves
- A Thermometer
- Over-the-Counter Medications
- Throat lozenges
- Cold medication
- Any other OTC medicine that you take on a regular basis, e.g., Acid Reflux or Allergy meds
- A warm blanket and bottled water
4. Other helpful items
Additional items for your safety and well-being might include:
- Water and non-perishable food enough for multiple days
- Weather appropriate change of clothing
- Possibly consider jackets, long sleeve shirts, clean under clothing and extra shoes
- Include a can opener for canned goods
- Peanut Butter and Crackers
- They have long shelf lives and are a great source of nutrition in an emergency
- Extra cell phone battery or charger
- Car chargers
- Portable chargers
- USB/Outlet chargers
- A battery-powered or hand crank radio that can receive
- NOAA Weather Radio tone alerts and extra batteries
- Flashlight(s) and extra batteries
Consider entertainment items for the kids:
- iPad with chargers
Being prepared can position you for less stress and a shorter recovery time. Creating an emergency plan and assigning tasks to all family members can help you to evacuate more efficiently.
We sincerely hope you’ll never need to use these. As the old saying goes “it’s better to be safe, than sorry.”