Scared or Prepared, Planning makes all the difference! Creating the perfect Family Disaster Plan is the first and most important disasters preparedness activity to start with. After all, in the event of an unexpected disaster or emergency who will you be most concerned about? Most likely your family will be top priority. The television news is packed full of natural disasters happening all the time. It’s our responsibility to have a plan in place for our family so that we are not scared, but prepared.
Here are seven tips for the perfect Family Disaster Plan or FDP that will help assure you and your family the protection and peace of mind of knowing what to do in the unexpected event of a disaster or emergency.
Family Communication Meetings
Set a date and time for the entire family to meet and discuss the disaster plan. These meetings will need to continue until your plan is perfected. Purchase a 3 ring binder notebook and insert a cover page in big bold letters Family Disaster Plan on bright paper so it can be easily seen. This notebook should have a designated area where everyone knows maybe near telephone in kitchen. Discuss with family and write down what should be included in the plan such as reunion points, emergency numbers and information, medical release form for each minor child, important family records, CPR training, and the items mentioned below.
Water is essential for survival. Depending on the disaster, you likely will not have your water available. Stocking water reserves or purifying contaminated water should be among your top priorities also. At a minimum, store a 72 hour emergency supply of water for each member of your family. Emergency officials estimate that you should plan on being self-sufficient for the first 72 hours, but if possible it would be better to prepare for 2 to 3 weeks because in all reality this would probably be the case. Note in your FDP where your emergency water storage is located.
Create Disaster Backpack Kits
As we have discussed above it may take hours, days, weeks…you just don’t know. The local officials and relief workers will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately so it’s your responsibility to be prepared. The Emergency Survival Kits you can create yourself using a backpack or purchase online but should contain the essentials to survive at least 72 hours or more. The kit should contain items such as food and water, first aid kit, light and communication, shelter and warmth, tools, hygiene and sanitation, extra prescription drugs and medication, eye glasses and anything else that might fit in a backpack that you can just grab and go. Note in your FDP where your survival kits are located.
Discuss Utility Safety
Water quickly becomes a precious resource following most disasters. It’s very important that everyone in your household learns how to shut off water at the main valve in case of cracked water lines that might pollute water supply to house and the effects of gravity may drain the water in your hot water heater and toilet tanks unless you trap it in your house by shutting off the main water valve.
Electricity sparks have the potential of igniting natural gas if it’s leaking so it’s wise to teach all responsible family members where and how to shut off the electricity.
Natural gas leaks and explosions are responsible for a significant amount of fires following disasters such as a major earthquake. It’s very important to teach all responsible family members how to shut off the natural gas supply if they smell the characteristic warning odor of gas or if you notice a large consumption of gas being registered on the gas meter. Do Not use matches, lighters, open flame appliances or operate any electrical switches until you’re sure there is no gas leak. If you smell natural gas, immediately get everyone out of and away from the house, open windows and doors to provide ventilation if time, shut off gas at the meter and warn neighbors close by. Note the instructions on utility safety after discussing with your family and insert in your FDP notebook.
Do Home Hazards Checklist & Action List
Earthquake deaths, injuries and property damage are usually caused by falling and moving objects. Chances are you’ll probably be home during an earthquake so how safe is your house? A lot of destruction can be prevented by doing a little preventative maintenance. Set a date and time for another family meeting to do a Home Hazards Checklist and see what things such as bookcases, furniture, appliances could be secured to the wall or cabinet to prevent them falling and injuring someone in the event of a disaster. Note these findings and action list in your FDP notebook, and schedule another family meeting to start the preventative maintenance on your home.
Food Storage and Rotation Tips
Here are some things to keep in mind as you are preparing your emergency food supplies. Store Wisely the items that will keep for a long time and put date on everything. Establish a Method that if you stock a pantry or basement with canned goods put new purchases in the back and withdraw older cans from the front. Sloped shelves can be constructed that let newer cans roll forward as the oldest cans are taken. Learn From Experience by letting your family sample what you’ve stored will help you determine what to store in the future. For instance, if those dried lima beans haven’t moved after two years, they probably won’t make anyone really happy during an emergency either. Note the dates of emergency food storage in your FDP notebook.
Review Plan Every 6 Months.
The plan needs to be reviewed and updated periodically to keep every family member refreshed, and to add or delete as needed to your FDP notebook.