The past couple of months have been marked by natural disasters – hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes and fires. The suddenness of each of these natural disasters is a reminder that it is a good idea to have an emergency preparedness plan and quick availability to needed supplies.
In a natural disaster there are home-related supplies that could be helpful to ensuring that your environment is safe.
- Fire extinguisher
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- Dust masks
- Duct tape
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- If you have bedrooms on a second level, having a readily available emergency ladder
Building an emergency supply kit that is easily accessed is also advisable. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests having basic supplies that would allow survival for three days. Their recommended list includes the follow supplies:
- Water (one gallon/person/day)
- Non-perishable food for 3 days
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Diapers and formula if you have a baby
- Can opener
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Change of clothing, including jacket for colder weather
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
- If you have pets, consider their needs
- Having some cash on hand
We would add charging cords for various devices to this list, after all we are in Silicon Valley where we “do life” on our devices!
It’s also a good idea to have important documents such as insurance policies, prescriptions, financial information, emergency contact phone numbers in a waterproof portable container so that you don’t need to gather in an evacuation situation.
Every family should have an emergency plan in place. Children especially should know what to do and who to contact in an emergency, particularly if a parent is not accessible. A good idea is to have each family member call a person who is out of the area to report that they are safe. Another key part of a plan should be where to meet in the event home is not safe and to practice getting there so that children feel comfortable and confident that they know what to do.
Have you been looking for a reason to get to know your neighbors better? Those affected by these disasters have commented about the need for knowing their neighbors. First-responders are not able to handle all of the needs that arise in a natural disaster, but neighbors working together can help each other. Part of developing a plan is to know your neighbors, and to have their contact information readily available.
While natural disasters cannot be predicted, being prepared for one is something within our control; and being prepared is a solid first step toward navigating the resulting chaos.