Is Your Home Prepared for an Emergency
Nobody knows how it started, when it started or what the cause of it was, but it happened. Now you are trapped in your home, terrified to go outside. Your whole neighborhood seems to be infected with zombies, and you are slowly running out of food. You desperately wish you had made those changes to your house and your family so they would be prepared for an emergency.
Ok, while that might be an extreme, and unlikely case of an emergency, being prepared for any possible scenario is just safe thinking. Teaching your family and having your home ready for an emergency is the best thing you can do for them. If you live in California or a place that suffers from Earthquakes, you could be trapped in your home with no way out, or no way to get any food and water to your home as roads are blocked or destroyed. Some places in the world suffer so much snow fall that they experience the same feeling. A flood can destroy and entire house, like a tornado, but being prepared can save your life and the lives around you.
What to Do
The first thing you need to do is keep yourself and your family safe. If you are unable to help your family, then they suffer because of it. Airlines specifically tell you in training to put your own oxygen masks on before you try to help anyone else. This is because you can’t help anyone else if you don’t help yourself first. While it might seem a little selfish, you can still help your family while helping yourself. Protect those that can’t protect themselves, such as babies and small children. Each emergency is different so you need to plan on those that could affect your area first before you try and plan for unlikely scenarios. You need to have supplies in place in case these emergencies happen. You need to know who to call for help, as regular phones could be down, and so could emergency response systems.
Never panic! While it might seem like the right response, panic will get you nowhere except hurt. Keep calm and think through the situation, there is likely a way out and a way to survive it if you think it through. If others in your family are panicking than you need to get them under control and able to use their heads before you do anything else.
Train yourself and your family on what to do in case of an emergency. Be sure that everyone has the right phone numbers in their phones, or some numbers memorized (preferable) in case they can’t access their phones. A meeting place such as in front of the house, in the backyard, or down the street. You want it someplace close that everyone can remember and can get to. A specific neighbor or relative that lives nearby is always a good choice.
How to Plan
Planning for an emergency is just safe thinking. It starts by playing a “What If” game, by asking yourself and your family members questions. For example: What If there is a fire? What if I’m on the second floor and the fire happens? What if I’m in the garage when the fire happens? What if I’m not home when the fire happens? Should I try and put out the fire? You start the question with the emergency and then continue with questions so that everyone understands what to do in those situations. Each emergency will be different. You might want to draw out an outline to follow, and take notes with the family so that they everyone knows what to do.
Designate a meeting place that everyone can find easily. Designate a family member or neighbor to contact that is trustworthy and can help in an emergency. Map out everything in the neighborhood so that everyone knows where everything is. This way even small children can grab the map and follow it. It’s good to know where fire stations, police stations, grocery stores and drug stores are in your town. If you live in a large city it is also good to point out place that you might want to avoid. Everyone reacts differently in emergencies and bad areas can mean more crime, especially in emergencies where people like to take advantage of others.
If there are specific supplies that are used in emergencies such as fire extinguishers, power generators, rope ladders, etc. make sure you are not the only person that knows how to use them. Everyone in the family that is capable should know how to use the supplies. They should also know where are the supplies are located. Keep the supplies where they are accessible and not hidden or difficult to get to. (Storing them in the attic or basement is not a good idea.)
Emergency Kits in Every Room
Your main emergency kit should be located where everyone can get to it. This is the main kit that could mean survival for the entire family for a few days. It should include water, enough for a gallon a day per person. A large family might want to consider water barrels stored in the garage. It should contain a first aid kit, and emergency food. This is food that can last a long time, or has a long expiration date on it. These include certain protein bars, and camping food that is preserved. You can include regular food in there as well, such as canned goods, if you rotate it out so it is always fresh. If you do though, be sure and include a can opener and utensils.
Camping gear is like survival gear and will work to get the job done. A tent, a camping stove with small cylinder propane tanks stored with the main kit are always a great idea. A propane lantern couldn’t hurt either. Be sure to keep cans of sterno on hand as they can be used for heating and cooking.
Besides food and medical supplies, you might want to include some puzzles or puzzle books and blankets. Emergency blankets are best as they fold up the smallest. The games are to keep from being bored.
Scenario Questions to Ask
These are just some common questions that you might put up to your family to better prepare them. The thing to know is that while parents might have a set agenda or goal in an emergency, leading to certain questions, the kids will be thinking about something else. Encourage them to ask questions too, and you will be surprised at some of the questions and answers that they give you.
What do we do when we hear the tornado alarm? Where do we go? Who can we call? How long should be stay there? Is it safe to move around the room? What happens if you are hurt? If the house is destroyed how do, we get out? Where do we go?
When an Earthquake happens, what should I do? Is it better to stand in a doorway or hide under a desk? What if I smell gas? What if the power goes out? What if it starts a fire? If it happens while I’m in school, what should I do? Is it safe when the shaking stops?
What do I do if I smell smoke? If I see a fire should I try to put it out? What do I put out the fire with? When should I crawl on the floor? Should I help anyone in the house? Who do I call? Where should I go?
If the power goes out, what should I do? Where are the flashlights/lanterns located? What if they are not working? When should I turn on the generator? What should I plug into the generator? Should we call somebody? How long will the power be out? What can we cook our food with?