By Mindy Longhurst
Natural disasters and emergencies strike. When they do, it can be very dangerous. June is National Safety Month. Having an emergency preparedness plan can help greatly in the event of a natural disaster or emergency. Here are some things to do now so you and your loved ones are prepared.
Identify likely disasters
The first thing to do is to identify likely disasters in your local area. Writing down the different types of likely disasters will help you to be able to tailor the plan to your local needs.
Have meeting places
Come up with a plan to have a meeting spot in the event of an emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests having multiple meeting spots. Have a meeting spot in your neighborhood, outside your neighborhood and one out of town. Make sure that everyone is aware of where these meeting places are located and when to go to what meeting place. An example of a meeting place is a library, church or other landmark location.
How to contact family and loved ones
Plan a way to contact loved ones. Try sending a text message instead of making a phone call. A text message will usually work better than a phone call because it requires less bandwidth and can automatically send when in cell service range. Have at least one contact in your phone that is labeled In Case of Emergency or ICE so that if something does happen to you, someone can contact your family.
Have maps of the local area
Having printed maps of the local area will help to know where you are located and will prevent people from getting lost.
Make sure to have some sort of shelter kit to protect your loved ones from the elements.
Have an emergency contact outside of the state
In the event of an emergency, it will be helpful to have a contact outside of the state. When major emergencies occur, the cell towers can struggle to work locally. An out of state contact can also help to calm emotions and stresses down.
Talk to your children
It is crucial to make sure that your children know what to do in a state of an emergency. This will help to prepare them. Also, ask them for their opinion with things like meeting places, this will help the child to feel validated and will help them to start thinking about what to do in the state of an emergency.
Write down the plan
Make sure that you record where the meeting places will be and contact emergency phone numbers. This will make sure that everyone will head to the same meeting place. Give everyone a copy of this plan. Keep the plan in an emergency kit inside a waterproof bag or have it laminated.
For more information, please visit https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1501681583075-a994145e50a6319034ada607d1725bbe/Create_Family_Communications_Plan_508.pdf