Tips for disaster prep
Fires, floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters may be uncomfortable to think about, but doing so can help save you and your family in the event of a true emergency. The following disaster preparedness tips can help ensure you are calm, prepared, and ready in the event of an emergency situation.
- Know what you’ll face. The type of natural disaster you could face largely depends on the area of the country you live in. While Californians need to prepare for earthquakes, those in Florida should focus on hurricanes. The Red Cross has a list [http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster] of potential disasters to help people when emergency planning.
- Sign up for emergency alerts. Most cell phones are equipped to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts, or WEAs; these text messages are sent to any cell phones within range of the affected area. Your local jurisdiction may its own opt-in alert system. Often times available over text, email, or other notification method, simply search “[town or city] + emergency alerts” for more information on how to register.
- Carry an ICE card. An ICE – or In Case of Emergency – card should be carried by every member of the family in their purse of wallet. Include name, age, blood type, and important medical information such as allergies or medications. For iPhone users, the Health app [http://lifehacker.com/fill-out-your-iphone-s-health-information-in-case-of-em-1678113656] lets you list vital information as well as identify specific people as designated emergency contacts.
- Identify meeting points. Identify meeting points in case your family is separated. You and your family should pick four locations: one inside your home, one near your home in the neighborhood, one in your city, and one out of town. This way, the whole family knows where to go in case no matter the emergency.
- Create an emergency kit. FEMA recommends [https://www.ready.gov/kit] that every family have an emergency kit, or go bag, with bottled water, non perishable food, a flashlight, hand crank radio, first aid kit, simple tools, and more. Likewise, don’t forget to pack diapers and formula for babies, food for pets, copies of necessary prescriptions or extra medications, and spare glasses for contact lens wearers.
- Practice your plan. While it may seem silly, the whole family should practice their emergency plan. This helps everyone feel confident and capable that they know what to do in the event of a real natural disaster. Practice is particularly important for young children who may become overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, or smells or a true disaster.