Are you ready for that unexpected emergency? Most people are not. Readiness is very pro-active and requires preparation both mentally and physically. This is a resource to help you ask the important questions and start the process of communication with your loved ones, which is so important. You must all think through these important questions and be on the same page together. You will also find some helpful tips regarding items you should purchase and have on hand and also know how to use. We will try to link to other helpful websites to provide even more insights and help. I hope this turns out to be a useful resource for protecting you family and also your possessions.
1. Do You Have An Emergency Plan?
The most important way to prepare for a disaster is to have a plan and communicate that plan to all members of your household or community. Everyone involved should know the plan through discussion and practising drills so that the plan is second nature. Here are some helpful tips.
Communicate the dangers of different types of disasters that could occur in your area. This can be done by meeting with members of your home regularly to go over how to respond to each type of disaster.
Depending on the type of disaster, there may be certain safe spots in the home. These should be discussed and clear to each family member.
Everyone in your household should know what to do in case of a power outage. Also, each person should know how to turn the water, gas and electricity off at the main switches and when it may be necessary to do that. Check out these videos provided by the Delaware Fire Department to learn how to safely find and turn off these services.
Children should be taught when to call 911.
You should have a local and out-of-state contact who can be called by any member of your household, in case your family is separated during the disaster. The out-of-state contact is important, because often times, local contacts are also affected by the disaster and can’t be reached.
Be prepared to administer first aid and CPR. Look for classes offered by local health care facilities or organizations like the Red Cross.
Be sure to have two emergency meeting places, which everyone knows how to reach. The first should be a place near home in case of a fire or even affecting only your home. The second should be outside your neighbourhood in the event you’re not able to return.
2. Do You Have An Emergency Supplies Kit?
In case you ever have to leave your home in a moment’s notice, e.g. in case of evacuation due to an impending storm, it’s wise to prepare a backpack or a duffle bag, something easy to carry, filled with the emergency supplies listed below. You may want to have a container prepared for each member of your household.
- A supply of water, stored in a sealed container, which should be replaced every six months if not used
- A supply of non-perishable food – if there are any cans, be sure to include a can opener
- Change of clothing
- Blanket and sleeping bag
- First aid kit and needed medications
- A battery powered flashlight and extra batteries
3. Do You Have An Emergency Car Kit?
Emergencies can happen anywhere, whether at home or not. It’s wise to always have an emergency kit to keep in your car at all times. Here are some items that can come in handy.
- Jumper cables
- A small fire extinguisher
- A first aid kit
- A shovel and flares
- A tire repair kit and pump
- A battery powered flashlight and extra batteries
- Bottled water and some non-perishable food having high energy content
4. Is Your House Prepared To Minimize Hazards?
Injuries and damage can often be prevented in your home by being aware of ordinary objects that can fall or break or potentially cause a fire. By taking some of these simple actions, hazardous situations can be avoided.
- Check electrical wiring and gas connections regularly and repair immediately when a leak or defect is found.
- Check for ceiling or foundation cracks and repair.
- Have regular checks and maintenance performed for chimneys and all vents in the house.
- Pictures and mirrors should be hung away from couches and beds.
- Strap water heaters and other gas related appliances.
- Keep hazardous materials stored properly, for example, flammable products like wee
- killers or pesticides should be kept away from heat sources, polishing rags should be kept in metal cans, etc…
- Shelves should be fastened securely. Large, heavy objects should always be kept on lower shelves.
5. Are You Prepared For A Fire?
Thousands of deaths and injuries occur each year due to fires, many of which can be prevented by having a plan and putting in place simple and mostly inexpensive precautions. Here’s a list of things to do and discuss with your family.
- Have smoke detectors on every level of the home. These should be tested once a month and batteries changed every year.
- Keep a collapsible ladder for the upper floor of your house.
- Keep a 5 lb. fire extinguisher in your home. Make sure you know how to use it.
- Keep a whistle in each bedroom. It can be used to wake up other members in case of a fire.
- If feasible, consider home sprinklers.
- Do not overload electrical outlets.
- Have at least two escape routes for each room in your house.
- Practice fire drills regularly, maybe twice a year
- Every family member should know the following: a. to stay low to the ground when escaping from a fire and b. not to open doors that are hot