Emergency Preparedness Isn’t Just for Professionals
The typical family has a lot of different things that they have to think about every single day. Professional concerns, family obligations and school functions have a tendency to pull families in several different directions on a routine basis. In addition, it causes people to become so busy with their daily schedules and their everyday routines that they often forget about preparing for potential emergencies that could spell disaster for loved ones. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a tendency to think that things like disaster preparedness, fire prevention and survival in any type of disaster, whether at home or on a greater scale, is something that just doesn’t fit into everyday home and family life. The truth is, there is nothing that could be more important. Imagine having an emergency where someone is seriously injured or worse yet, losing a loved one all because of the lack of preparedness and simply not knowing what to do when it counted the most.
Why Disaster Preparedness Is Everybody’s Job
Without a doubt, disaster preparedness is not something that should strictly be left to the professionals. A lot of people have the mindset that if something goes wrong, they will simply pick up the phone, call 911, and firefighters or paramedics will show up and make everything better.
While it is true that these individuals will indeed show up and they will do everything in their power to make everything better, these are situations where time is of the essence. Therefore, anything that you can do as a family to help ensure that you are better prepared or that you have a plan of action in place when something does go wrong could be that single factor that makes the difference between everything working out and having everything that matters to you stripped away. That is why disaster preparedness is everyone’s job, at least to a certain extent.
Staying Safe At Home
How can you stay safe at home when you don’t have any training in fighting a fire or helping someone in some type of medical crisis? The truth is, this is where many people make one of the most serious mistakes they can make. They think that because they don’t have the professional training, there is nothing they can do. Nothing could be further from the truth. You can make sure that your home is guarded against the ravages of fire and you can prepare for both small-scale and large-scale disasters so that you and your loved ones have a better chance of not only surviving, but being more comfortable while you are riding out the disaster. These things will be discussed in the following paragraphs. The most important thing you need to remember is that this should be a family affair, involving every member of the family. Even the youngest members of the family have both the responsibility and the right to take part in preparing for something unexpected.
Sadly, fires happen every day around the country. The overwhelming number of fires that involve fatalities are those where no working smoke alarm is present. Everyone should check their smoke alarms and make sure they are operating correctly. This is the single most important thing you will ever do to ensure that you and your loved ones get out of the house safely if a fire ever happens.
How do you go about making sure that they work and that you have the right amount of smoke alarms in the house? First and foremost, you should have one inside every bedroom, in every area of the home such as the living room or den, and in every hallway. In addition, make sure that every floor of your home has smoke alarms, including the basement. Either purchase the ones that have the lithium batteries and make sure that you change out the entire smoke alarm every 10 years or purchase the ones that run on alkaline batteries. If you choose this option, test the batteries every 30 days and change them out at least every 6 months, sooner if the alarm starts beeping.
The smoke alarms should be replaced every 5 to 8 years. You should also have a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of the home.
Next, have a plan of action. Make sure that everyone understands that the idea is to get out of the house as soon as the fire starts. Saving the house or saving possessions is not worth risking your life. Make sure that every individual understands that once they are out, they don’t go back inside under any circumstances and ensure that everyone has a safe place to meet where everyone gathers so that you know everyone is out safely. Call 911 from another phone outside of the home.
Last but not least, have active fire drills once a month to insure that everyone is well versed in what to do if the unthinkable actually happens.
Preparing For Disasters
In exactly the same way that you can better protect yourself in the event that your house catches on fire, you can also protect yourself in the event of a disaster. Disasters come in all shapes and sizes and can range from anything such as a flood to a tornado emergency to a terrorist attack. It is also important to consider being locked down inside your own home or office because of an active shooter in the area. The question is, what do you need to do to plan for these types of things.
First of all, follow any and all special instructions that are given by emergency professionals. Next, ensure that you have the proper equipment on hand. Every person must have enough food that is non-perishable and water to ensure survival for at least three days. That means at least three gallons of water per person, per day and enough non-perishable food items to ensure that no one is going to go hungry. Include any special medications along with things like battery-operated radios, flashlights, extra batteries and blankets. Make sure that you have a can opener that doesn’t require electricity and utensils for eating.
Be sure to include some cash in your emergency kit and throw an old cell phone in there that is charged, even if you no longer use it. You will still be able to call 911 on that phone whether it is activated or not. Include any special concerns like items for pets or individuals who have some type of disability.
Perhaps most importantly, have a way that loved ones can get in touch with each other so you know everyone is safe. You can use social media, a special portal that is operated by the American Red Cross, or text someone that lives outside of the area in order to let them know that you are okay. They can then relay that message to others.
As you can see, everyone has a hand in preparing for an emergency. While you should always call the professionals whenever a problem exists, you should never discount yourself when it comes to knowing what you can do to protect your own family. Many times, prevention is the key difference between someone that comes out of something virtually unscathed and someone that is deeply impacted. When it comes to your loved ones, there is no question which category you would rather be in.