As unexpected natural disasters and other family emergencies have affected my family in the past, I can’t help but feel the need to prepare my family for future emergency events. I know my kids are young, but I don’t think they are ever too young to learn about an emergency preparedness plan. I want them to know what is going on and what we must do to be prepared in the event of an emergency. I believe every family should have an emergency plan and discuss it frequently with their children. Since September is National Preparedness Month, now more than ever is a great time to start or update your family emergency preparedness plan.
Recently, my children began paying attention to breaking news reports. They also started to ask what was happening and why. I never shield them, but I try to explain a situation in terms they will understand. I then decided to start preparing my family for emergency situations big and small. From a natural disaster to community crimes, these are unexpected events that could happen to anyone. I want my family to be aware of the resources our local community provides as well as what to do in every scenario.
When I was a kid, my parents also stressed the importance of knowing our personal information in the event of an emergency. I think times have definitely changed from the days I was a kid. This is why I find it to be extremely important to have an emergency preparedness plan.
Here are the 12 most important things to include and discuss for your family emergency preparedness plan.
- Evacuation plan — Share a map of your home with exits identified. Color code them for the smaller kids and review frequently.
- Emergency kit with labeled supplies — Have a designated area so that everyone is aware of where your emergency kit is. Label all its contents.
- Important contact list — Make a list of phone numbers of every relative or friend that is in the area who you can call during an emergency.
- Local first aid responders and resources list — Research community aid in your town, from fire departments to gas company phone numbers.
- Meet-up/shelter area — Choose a designated area by the home to meet up at, in the event that you are separated during an emergency.
- Understanding school emergency plans — Discuss where your kids will be exactly and know where you will meet up with them if they are in school when something happens.
- Identification information — Smaller kids should have ID bracelets and older kids should have contact information memorized.
- Utilities power shut off — Identify power switches as well as proper tools for other utilities. Discuss that this is an adult’s responsibility for action.
- Pet care — Discuss what must you do for pets in the event of an emergency.
- Supply kit — Aside from an emergency kit, having a small food supply and disaster kit is important. Set a designated area in your home to keep it. If you have small children, consider items specifically for young children in your kits.
- Copies of important documents — For example, medical records for those that require special care and insurance documents should be kept safe and updated regularly.
- Senior and special needs care kit — Aside from the basics, you may have someone in your home who needs special care. It is important to make a kit tailored to him or her. Consider this checklist for seniors and special needs care kits.
Does your family have an emergency preparedness plan?