We all want to feel safe in our homes. We don’t like to think about disasters happening to us. We hope that they never will, but being prepared will help if they do. The best way to handle a disaster is to have a plan in place. Being prepared gives your family an advantage in the face of an emergency or disaster.
Fires are one of the most common disasters we are likely to face in our homes. That is why home fire safety is so important to your family’s security. First, you should have a good home fire safety plan. Research and make a plan for what to do in the event of a fire at your home. Discuss it with your family. Be sure that everyone knows what to do and where to go in the event of a fire. Remember to plan for different scenarios, like a fire in the kitchen, a fire outside, or a fire at night while everyone is in bed. Teach each family member what to do if they encounter a fire when they are alone. Keep fire extinguishers in several areas, particularly any areas that are prone to catch fire such as the kitchen, bathroom, attic, and garage. Make sure that each family member knows how to properly operate the fire extinguishers.
Storms are always an issue and can sometimes become violent. Make plans for these scenarios. Have a strategy for each possibility. Prepare your home and family members for what may happen. Strong winds are common but can be powerfully destructive and dangerous. Stay away from doors and windows. Get to the innermost room in your home. Flooding is also an issue. Have a plan for extreme flooding, too. It can happen very quickly and be extremely dangerous, as we saw with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Electrical outages may also occur. Having a generator will help you during any outage.
In any situation you should be prepared for a medical emergency. It is recommended that you put together your own first aid kit rather than buying one pre-made. This way you can customize the kit to your family’s situation. It is also recommended that you have several first aid kits in different locations, for example, your car, the kitchen, the boat, etc. A comprehensive first aid kit should include supplies and medications for cuts, burns, insect bites and stings, nausea, fever, and rash.
Having stored food is a necessity. During many scenarios, food and water may be in short supply or completely cut off. Just as with first aid kits, create food storage areas in different locations like your car, home, and office. The food in your home should be well stocked and include enough food for your family to eat for at least one month. The more you can safely store, the better. Store enough food in your car to feed your family for one week. Again, the more you can safely store, the better off you will be if you need to use it in an emergency. Stock your food supply with non-perishables and other foods that have long expiration dates. Keep in mind the nutritional needs of your family when selecting foods to store. After you have stored your food, remember to check it every 6 months for expiration dates and use and replace anything that will expire.
There are several items that are necessary in many emergencies and disasters. It is a good idea to keep several of these items on hand. Keep a list of phone numbers and other pertinent contact information for family members, doctors, local emergency services, and your regional poison control center. Have a medical history and consent form for each family member. This helps medical professionals take care of you faster and more efficiently in emergencies. You should also keep a small waterproof flashlight and extra batteries. Flashlights are invaluable in many emergency and disaster situations. Candles and matches are also a good idea. Fire can be used for light, warmth, and a source for cooking food. Keep your candles and matches in a waterproof container. It may be surprising, but sunscreen is also essential. Sun exposure can be very dangerous, particularly for small children. A waterproof and sweat proof sunscreen with a high SPF is recommended. An emergency space blanket is fundamental, as well. It can not only provide warmth, but can also be used in a wide variety of ways in an emergency survival situation.
Having a plan and being prepared can mean the difference between life and death. Take the time to research different emergency situations and disasters. Plan carefully for each scenario. Learn survival skills like CPR and other first-aid medical techniques. Discuss the plans with your family. Teach each member of your family what to do and how to do it. Go over your plans and practice drills annually to make sure that everyone and everything is prepared. Your family’s safety depends on your disaster preparedness.