How Can I be Prepared?

How Can I be Prepared?How can I be prepared?

There are many ways in which to effectively plan for an emergency situation in order to ensure you are well prepared for the event. Maximizing your level of organization will ultimately result in effectively responding to an emergency situation and will hopefully aid in decreasing the damage caused by a disaster.

To be prepared, you must firstly be aware of disasters that may occur in the state or country in which you reside. Know danger and warning signs and be familiar with local procedures in the event of an emergency.

Being familiar with the types of disasters that may occur in your area will ensure sufficient knowledge with which to plan emergency procedures for the disasters relevant to you. It will also aid you in preparing a disaster supplies kit.

There are a few factors that may prove beneficial to know before disaster strikes.

Start by researching some of the disasters that may be relevant to the area in which you are living. You may find a significant amount of information online or alternatively you could contact the relevant weather bureau and ask if they could send you out appropriate information. Talk with neighbors and friends to obtain their opinion.

Once you have gained sufficient knowledge on any relevant disasters you may begin planning procedures for yourself and you family to follow. The following will provide you with some ideas on factors you should take into consideration when planning for a disaster:

  1. Escape routes: Trace your house or draw a floor plan in order to determine appropriate points of exit for different situations. Aim for two exits from each different room.

  1. Where to group: In the event of an emergency, each family member might find themselves exiting from a different room. To ensure everyone evacuates safely, designate an appropriate area for everyone to gather.

  1. Communication: If disaster was to strike, ideally it would be during a time that the whole family is together; unfortunately this is not the case, so be prepared and organize a means of communication or designate a meeting place. Discuss how you will communicate in a variety of different situations.

  1. Existing Procedures: Also know any emergency procedures that may be exist in your work place or in your children’s school. This may help you organize a means of contact or a designated meeting area.

  1. Create a disaster supplies kit: This will ensure you are fully prepared in the event of a disaster and will prevent you from having to search around and obtain relevant items in the midst of a disaster, when you might not be thinking effectively due to the resultant stress and anxiety. Refer to chapter three for further information on how to make and emergency supplies kit and what items you will require.

  1. Know how to turn off the water or gas supply to your home. This might be useful in the event of an evacuation.

  1. Designating ‘shelter’ rooms: We often hear about people having to take shelter when we hear about disasters. Taking shelter may refer to shelter in ones home or shelter outside a particular area. It is always beneficial to plan ahead of time and designate ‘safe’ rooms in the house for a variety of situations. It is also wise to plan external forms of shelter (such as staying with a relative or in a hotel, etc) in the event that you are required to leave you home.

  1. Insurance: Ensure you purchase relevant insurance with which to provide a means of replacing your possessions if a disaster should cause damage to your home or contents. For insurance purposes, make an inventory of the possessions you own; writing a list and taking pictures or video are the most effective means of doing so.

It may also be beneficial to purchase health and life insurance.

  1. Storage of important documentation: Ensure all important documentation is stored in a safe place away from the home (e.g. in a safe deposit box). If you are going to store the contents in your home, look at purchasing a fire proof safe. Be sure to put any documents inside the safe into plastic baggies in the event of a flood.

  1. Make plans for pets: If you have pets, it is advisable to make plans for their care in the event of a disaster. Ensure you have the necessary equipment and supplies for your pet such as food, water and an identification tag. It is also advisable to ensure your pets medical records are up to date (keep a copy of these if possible), and that your pet has undergone all relevant immunizations or vaccinations.

For specific advice relating to the area you live in, contact your local animal shelter or emergency department.

Optional Planning:

  1. Learn First Aid: In order to be fully prepared for any situation in which a disaster may occur, it is always a good idea to complete a first aid course.

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