Being prepared for an emergency is as simple as having a kit and having a plan. You should have an emergency kit in your home that contains essentials that you will need in the event of an emergency. There are many different kits available for purchase online in a variety of sizes, or you can make your own very easily. The following information comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Emergency Preparedness website:
An Emergency Kit Should Include:
- Water (1 gallon per person per day)
- Food (stock up on non-perishable items that you eat regularly)
- Medications (this includes prescription and non-prescription meds)
- Tools and Supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery powered radio, etc.)
- Sanitation and Hygiene (household bleach, soap, towels, etc.)
- Clothing and Bedding (a change of clothes for each family member and blankets)
- Important documents (copies of your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate to name a few)
- First Aid supplies
For a full list of supplies, check the CDC website.
Once you’ve made your emergency kit, you should sit down with your family and come up with an emergency plan. This includes where you would go and who you would call if in case of an emergency such as a flood, earthquake, or other emergency.
- Identify the types of emergencies that are possible in your area this may include floods, tornadoes, or earthquakes. If you are unsure contact your local Red Cross chapter for more information.
- Pick a meeting place for your family to regroup in case your town evacuates. Pick one place right outside your home for sudden emergencies and one place outside of your neighborhood in case you are unable to return home right away.
- Identify your emergency contacts. Make a list of local contacts like the police, fire department. Also identify an out-of-state contact that you can call during an emergency to let the rest of your family know you are ok.
- Plan your evacuation route. Plan where you would go and multiple routes you would take ahead of time. This is helpful when natural disasters strike and you have to take shelter fast.
Finally, you should update your emergency kit annually and don’t forget to practice your plan at least once a year as a family to make sure it works for you!