Whether it’s a natural disaster such as a hurricane, an ice storm or a wind storm it’s always important to have a family safety plan.
Who to contact
Designate one person in your family as the “go to” person to call in the event of a disaster. Have a #2 in case the first person can’t be contacted. It may even help to have a relative who lives in a different area as a contact person if you suspect that phones/electricity, etc., will be out or tied up in your area. Everyone who has a cell phone should have an ICE (in case of emergency) designated person. They may be listed as ICE or ICE Mary, etc. Just include ICE.
Where to go
Create a meeting place so everyone knows where to go. In the case of a fire, it could be a neighbors home. In the event of a wind storm it could be the basement. Make sure it’s a safe place and that all family members, including children, know where they need to know to join the rest of the family.
Organize strategies for different events. Practice/review a different even once every few months. For instance, where you would go for a tornado (basement, interior room, etc.,) is going to be different than what you would do during a fire (get out – go to the neighbor’s home).
In addition to having warning systems in place like fire alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, weather radios, etc., be sure to keep an emergency kit that contains five days worth of non-perishable food and water, first aid supplies, a list of phone numbers including utilities, medicines and cleaning/purifying supplies. Also consider the special needs of pets or family members with health issues.
In the event of a disaster
Keep calm – follow your plan and use your resources.
Emergency phones – an older corded landline will work even if there’s no power outage. Also, make sure you have a vehicle charger. If the electricity in your home goes out this gives you another option. Make sure your family members know that it’s really important to keep the lines clear for emergency situations and to try to avoid excessive texting and phone calls during a widespread event.
After a disaster
Practice patience by waiting until the “all clear” is given and the event has passed. Then use extreme caution in entering the area whether it’s your home, stepping out the front door or traveling in disaster areas. Dangerous situations such as downed power lines, storm surges, damaged trees, etc., can’t always be visibly detected.
By strategizing for potential events you and your family will be less stressed knowing that you have done and are doing everything to minimize the impact of any situation. For more information contact the Red Cross or ready.gov for more emergency planning information.