Our families can be our world—what our lives revolve around—a huge part of what makes us want to get out of bed each day. We would like to do everything in our power to keep our family members safe from harm, but unfortunately, we can’t prevent all bad things from happening. For National Preparedness Month, we want to show you some simple steps that you can take at home to make sure everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, is being taken care of to the best of your ability when emergencies and disasters strike.
If you have a full house at home, with family members ranging from infants to seniors, keeping track of everyone and everything in the house, at any given time, can feel challenging, or nearly impossible for that matter! As head of the household, you want to ensure that everyone is safe, sheltered, and cared for, but you are not a super hero! In emergency situations at home, preparedness and communication are key, and the number one priority is making sure that you know your loved ones are safe! Read on to learn some useful tips for starting your own family emergency plan!
What is a Family Emergency Plan?
A family emergency plan is essentially a worst-case-scenario plan for how you are going to keep you and your loved ones safe in case an emergency would arise. This includes seeking shelter, evacuating, what supplies to keep on hand or take with you, and communication with one another.
In a perfect world, we could turn a blind eye and trust that everything will always be A-OK. However, all you have to do is tune into your local news for mere minutes before that fantasy is shattered. When disaster strikes, the best thing you can be is prepared! Consider the following points when creating your family emergency plan.
Plan for Your Risks
- Consider the area in which you live. What are the potential hazards that could arise? You may need to evacuate and/or seek shelter during natural disasters like floods, tornadoes, or hurricanes. According to the Department of Homeland Security, local emergency management offices can help identify the hazards in your area and help you figure out a plan for each.
- Be in the Know. How will your community or local government warn you of an impending emergency or disaster? Be sure to make yourself aware of what is happening by watching your local news station, listening to the radio, or using a local news and weather app on your smartphone. A battery powered radio can be a great asset in times of emergency when your power may go out, as those batteries would typically last longer than that of your cell phone.
Tailor Your Plan to the Needs of Your Family
- Do you or anyone in your household have a medical condition that requires certain supplies or medications? It is imperative that you have all the necessary medical supplies you will need if you need to evacuate your home or seek shelter in a certain area of your home. Create a list of what medicines and other medical supplies each family member requires. The Department of Homeland Security recommends always keeping an adequate supply of necessary medications, as well as copies of prescriptions in case of an emergency.
- Do you have infants at home? Keep extra baby food, formula, diapers, and a change of clothes on hand. Having a fully stocked diaper bag at all times will definitely be useful in case you need to quickly leave the house.
- Do you have school-aged children? Make sure you are aware of the school’s safety plans and policies for emergencies and natural disasters. The safest place for them may be at school until you are able to retrieve them.
How Will You Communicate?
In times of disaster and distress, cell phones and computers cannot be counted on 100% of the time. Rather, you’ll need to go “old-school” and have a technology-free communication plan in place.
- Collect the Information. Have a paper-copy of important emergency contact numbers, including out-of-town relatives, doctors, school, medical facilities, or service providers.
- Share the Information. Everyone in your household should have this hard-copy of emergency phone numbers in a wallet, diaper bag, backpack, medical bag, or purse. (Download our free guide below for helpful printable resources.) It is also a good idea to keep a copy of the information in an easily accessible part of your home.
- Have emergency meeting spots. Decide on a safe place in your home that you can use to take shelter from a bad storm or tornado. This could be a closet, bathroom, or basement. If you must leave your home or can’t access your home during an emergency, have an additional meeting spot planned where your family can seek shelter, such as a church, community center, or relative/family friend’s home.
- Practice and discuss. Be sure to have sporadic meetings or discussions with your family regarding your emergency plans. Everyone should feel prepared for what may lie ahead.
The saying “hope for the best, but plan for the worst” really strikes a chord here. We certainly don’t want you to frightfully think that your world is always on the brink of disaster, but putting a plan together for how your household will handle emergency situations can help keep you and your loved ones safe, prepared, and in control!
Home Care Tip
If any of your loved ones receive home care or home healthcare services, be sure to include their Caregiver or Personal Care Aide in your family’s emergency plan, and keep them up to date with any changes. Communication and preparedness with them is just as vital!
Harmony is founded with a single focus in mind: providing compassionate home care and home healthcare to the residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Our trustworthy caregivers are ready to lend a helping hand to your mother, father, children, and loved ones in Somerset County, Greene County, Indiana County, and many more locations throughout the region. Contact us and one of our patient advocates will be happy to discuss how Harmony's programs can help your family today.