Prepare Your Family for an Emergency
As National Emergency Preparedness month comes to an end, it’s important to take a step back to evaluate how safe you and your family are in case of an emergency. Surprisingly, despite a record-breaking year of federally declared disasters in 2011 and 2012 that affected millions of people across the U.S., the Federal Signal 2012 Public Safety Survey found that Americans and their families still remain complacent in times of disaster. Whether it is due to overconfidence and families feeling that they are invincible to a disaster, or simply that they lack the sense of urgency to take action when warned of potential harm, people are not taking the proper steps to keep themselves and their families safe.
According to the Federal Signal 2012 Public Safety Survey, while 56 percent of Americans believe they are aware of the steps they need to take should a disaster strike, more than half (57 percent) are not aware of when their community’s system is tested, and 70 percent are not aware of the different sounds or sirens associated with various warnings. Additionally, more than one in four Americans do not know whether their community has a warning siren system at all. Don’t let yourself or your family be among these statistics by being unprepared for potential disasters or emergencies that can cause serious harm. There are a number of actions you can take to ensure you and your loved ones are equipped with the proper preparedness plan and tools.
Start by educating yourself on any changes that have been made in local public safety communications. The Federal Signal survey also found a startling 71 percent of Americans are unsure if they have a personal alerting and notification system in their area, which includes having the option of any combination of a call, text and/or email notification. With more people depending on their phones for so much of their lives, knowing if you have this system, and even further, signing up to receive alerts through multiple communication forms, is crucial.
Other ways to prepare include constructing a handy emergency kit for your home. Items that should be included are food and water, a standard weather radio and batteries, a first aid kit and manual, essential medications, etc. A full list of items can be found here. The emergency kit should be easily accessible for all family members – including children.
With a kit ready, it is also important to have emergency plans in place for an evacuation or weather- related emergency. Discuss plan scenarios with all family members and consider having practice runs.
Last, families should have contact information available with a list of phone numbers for family, school, neighbor, daycare, doctor, hospital and pharmacy. Be sure to include information about any allergies, medical conditions or insurance information that may be helpful in a stressful situation.
There’s no better time than now to think about how to keep you and your family safe. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Invest proper effort in preparing for the unexpected and you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re as prepared as you can be.