Smart Ways to Be Prepared for a Family Emergency
Life is full of surprises. This is why it is essential to be ready for any type of emergency. Here are some ways to effectively prepare for family emergencies.
1. Consider Your Family’s Unique Needs
When preparing for an emergency, the first step is to familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Consider what types of weather events are common in your local area. This way, you can tailor your plan to these specific conditions.
Also, think about which family members require special accommodations. Younger children or elderly relatives may need assistance when evacuating your home. Also, take into account your family’s dietary restrictions and medical history.
2. Make a Disaster Supply Kit
Having all your emergency supplies in one place is essential for a quick getaway. You should try to pack only one or two lightweight bags.
Here are some of the main items to include in your bag:
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
Make sure to keep the bag in a spot you will remember. Also, update it periodically as your family needs change.
3. Know Where to Go
If a weather-related emergency occurs, you will need a safe place to go. You want to figure out where that place is ahead of time.
Start with designating spaces inside your home to take shelter. You also want a have a meeting spot outside your house in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire. Make sure you plan where to go if you need to evacuate. You want to have the route mapped out beforehand.
4. Stay Connected
Come up with a family communication plan. This should cover how you will stay updated on emergency alerts. It will also cover how you will stay in contact with other family members.
Know your household members’ emergency numbers. Have these saved on your phone and written down. Also, save the numbers of your local police stations and the nearest hospital.
Make sure to designate someone to be your out-of-area emergency contact. This person should be easier to reach since they won’t be affected by the crisis. Ensure all family members keep in touch with them.
Also, consider letting others know when you have reached a safe location. Here are some ways to notify people of your safety:
- Update your Facebook status
- Use Apple’s Find My app
- Use Google’s Trusted Contacts
- Use the American Red Cross app
5. Protect Your Pets
Suppose you have pets? Be sure to incorporate them into your plan as well. When deciding where to relocate during an emergency, keep in mind pet-friendly hotels. Also, add food and items for your furry friends inside your supply kit.
Here are some other ways to keep your pets safe:
- ID your pet
- Take your pet when you evacuate
- Contact hotels ahead of time
- Arrange plans for if you’re not home
- Close off unsafe areas your pet may try to hide in
6. Write Down and Practice Your Plan
Once you determine where to go and what you will need, write down the plan. Create detailed instructions for every possible situation, such as hurricanes or fires.
Then, have your family review the plans and practice them. Meet up in your designated safe areas and then drive to your evacuation location.
7. Review Your Insurance Plan
Before an emergency occurs, you want to make sure you have the right coverage. Some insurance policies may not protect you from floods or earthquakes. You want to ensure you’re covered for weather emergencies that commonly occur in your area. Also, know how to file a claim with your insurance carrier.
Also, consider investing in life insurance to be further prepared. To buy life insurance, a medical exam is usually part of the process. This helps to verify your current health information.
8. Keep Important Documents Safe
Make sure you have all your essential documents in one place. Put them in a waterproof and fireproof evacuation box. Make sure you keep them in a spot where you will remember and have easy access.
Here are some of the primary documents to consider including in the box:
- Birth certificate
- Social Security card
- Marriage certificate
- Driver’s license
9. Update Your Home With Safety Features
Make sure you have a smoke detector and fire extinguisher inside your house. This will make sure it can quickly detect and address a fire emergency. Regularly check the batteries in your smoke detectors to stay prepared.
Here are some other safety features to consider installing:
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Heat detectors
- Security system
- Deadbolt locks
- Emergency radio
10. Work With Your Neighbors
During a crisis, you want to lean on your community for support — this is why you want to work out a plan ahead of time. You and your neighbors can share food and other resources.
Here are some tips for working with your community during an emergency:
- Create a neighborhood communication plan
- Help those with special needs, such as the elderly or people with disabilities
- Make a plan for taking care of children if a parent isn’t home
- Learn the response plans of your children’s schools
Preparing for Emergencies
We can’t predict every situation, especially when it comes to the weather. This is why having a family emergency plan is essential. Your family should be familiar with it and practice it annually. If you feel like you don’t know where to start, consider these tips.