It’s two o’clock in the morning and you are awakened by the loud beeping from your kitchen smoke alarm. You jump from the bed and rush to the hallway only to find it is filled with smoke and fire. Would your family react in a manner that would ensure they could escape the burning house safely?
Emergency Preparedness For Every Situation
By definition, an emergency situation arises from an unplanned event that occurs which could harm you or your family. Emergency preparedness can help ensure that you can escape to a place of safety. Emergencies can arise when you are at home, traveling on vacation, at church, at school, at football games, even at the grocery store. They can happen at any time, day or night, creating an immediate need for an appropriate response by you and your family members.
While At Home
When faced with an emergency situation brought on by a significant weather event, such as a hurricane, tornado-producing thunderstorm, or flood, you should stay tuned to local weather via television or radio. If an evacuation order is given for your location, you should grab your emergency kit, leave the area quickly, and proceed to a predetermined safe place. Likewise, if a shelter-in-place order is announced, grab your emergency kit and move to your safe place quickly.
While Away From Home
Away from home, situational awareness is vital. Knowing exactly where you are and the location of the nearest safe exit will help ensure a safe escape from an emergency situation. Carrying a cell phone will allow you to remain in contact with family and friends should you become separated. The flashlight feature on most cell phones can assist when you must evacuate a locale in the dark. Being able to backtrack to a safe location is much easier if you are constantly aware of where you are and how you got there.
While Traveling in Your Car
When traveling in your car, remember that most major highways have mile markers and exit signs. GPS devices show your route. Maps can assist in diverting to another location. In unfamiliar areas, one of the worst feelings ever is not being able to give an accurate location to the 911 operator.
At home, having emergency kits at the ready can help speed your escape and provide you and the family with essential items they need.
Have you noticed that when a natural disaster like a hurricane or ice storm is pending there is a run on bread, milk, batteries and bottled water? Store shelves can empty very quickly. Having non-perishable emergency supplies stored at home in your safe place can help keep your family going until the emergency is passed.
There are several places on the internet to seek lists of recommended emergency supplies if you’re not sure what you need. National Safety Council, American Red Cross, and Weather Underground are just a few.
Here are some essentials you will find on every list:
- Bottled water.
- Working flashlight.
- Cell phone and charger.
- Packaged snack foods.
- Supplies for babies.
- Supplies for pets.
Emergency Action Plan/Fire Drills
Just like at work, having an Emergency Action Plan in place for your family can help ensure an appropriate response by family members in a fire emergency. Practicing this plan frequently and at different times of the day is a very good idea.
Use the “test” feature on a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm to set the plan in motion. All family members should quickly exit the house and gather at the predetermined safe place away from the structure. Recording the time it takes for everyone to get out safely is a good way to improve performance for the next drill.
After the drill, gather the family and discuss the successes and failures of the practice. Feedback is a great way to sharpen the skills of even the youngest family member.
Hopefully, your family will never be faced with an emergency situation. However, in a dire situation, emergency preparedness including the right equipment and supplies and practicing your Emergency Action Plan often should afford you an opportunity to stay safe.