Emergencies Is Your Family Prepared
U.S. Forces Command Headquarters
Fort Bragg, North Carolina
A severe storm strikes your area, taking out power for days, limiting emergency services and causing a shortage of available food and supplies. Are you prepared? That is an important question to discuss with your family members.
The Army is proactive with emergency preparation, but this may not be the case at your home. Preparing for all emergencies can be complex, but it is an essential component of household safety. Implementing a family emergency action plan will solve many issues that arise during an actual crisis. As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all, nobody knows when a natural disaster or global emergency will strike; therefore, preparing your family and property is necessary to mitigate hazards.
Family emergency action plans are much like the emergency action plans required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), only in a smaller and more personalized format. Your plan must address the measures required before, during and after each possible hazard within your area. For example, families in Florida must address hazards related to hurricanes, while those living in Montana must consider blizzards and other cold weather emergencies.
Communication is an essential element in a family emergency action plan. It is necessary to record and share key information with all family members to minimize confusion during an actual emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) developed a family emergency action plan, located at https://www.ready.gov/plan, which provides a structure for families to record contact information and meeting locations. This information is crucial if family members are separated during an emergency.
Depending on the hazard and its severity, some emergency notifications come with little to no advanced warning. These include evacuation and shelter-in-place notifications. If the best course of action is to shelter in place, it is extremely important to be prepared with supplies and food. When an evacuation is ordered, a predetermined destination and travel preparedness are valuable.
FEMA and other agencies highly encourage preparing survival kits. Food and supplies are a primary element in a family emergency action plan. Quantities of these items should be able to sustain all family members for at least three days. Ready.gov has a list of recommended items that should be included in a basic kit. Check it out at https://www.ready.gov/kit.
The bottom line is to prepare yourself, your family and your home for all possible natural disasters and emergencies. Hours to minutes before a disaster strikes is not the optimal time to create a family emergency action plan. As stated above, preparing for natural disasters is a complex task; the items discussed in this article are just the beginning. Establishing a plan, educating all family members, conducting dry-run exercises, and obtaining appropriate food and supplies will aid all when a disaster strikes your community.
Did You Know?
Each September, National Preparedness Month encourages and reminds Americans to be prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities. Homeowners, families, communities and businesses can use this opportunity to find ways or help others understand more about preparing for disasters and reducing risks to health and the environment. For more information about preparing for disasters and emergencies ranging from earthquakes and hurricanes to wildfires and pandemics, visit https://www.ready.gov.