Creating an Emergency Preparedness Plan

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One of the best ways to ensure you, your family, or your coworkers will survive an emergency is to plan ahead. A set plan that directs actions and behavior during an unexpected event can ease anxiety and create safer conditions than guessing at what to do as things happen. While no one can ever be totally prepared for an emergency, creating a plan will help those involved cope, and could mean the difference between life and death.

Make a Kit

Creating an emergency preparedness kit allows you to have materials on-hand to cope with emergencies. A kit should include adequate nonperishable food and water for your supposed party for a three-day period. Also keep in mind regular water sources may not be readily available. It is a good idea to keep a can opener with your food and water supply. Purchase a battery-operated radio or an emergency broadcast radio. This way if the regular signals or the electricity are not working, you will still be able to hear important messages and directions from authorities.

Have a flashlight ready with extra batteries. Also create a first-aid kit with the standard materials like bandages, hydrogen peroxide, and gauze. Each member of your party should have a dust mask, and you should keep a roll of plastic sheeting and duct tape handy in case you need to create an air-tight barrier. Finally, pack moist towelettes, garbage bags, local maps, and extra cell phone chargers for both the car and traditional outlets. It is a good idea to keep at least a partial emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle in case you are stranded somewhere.

Have a Plan

Each family or organization is going to have special circumstances. Those with babies will need to be sure they have diapers and infant formula included in their kit. Remember prescription medications, and pet supplies and food, as well. Also make copies of important documents that can be easily located should you need to evacuate an area. Everyone that each family will need an crisis management plan unique to their circumstances. Some may need "elderly or disabled crisis management, while others may temporarily need to create a pregnancy crisis management plan."

Once you have assembled the items you will probably need, make sure the entire family or group is aware of your plan. Discuss the best place to meet should something occur while people are away from home and returning home is not an option. Choose one or two alternate meeting locations and ensure all members of the family are able to reach that location. Also let those at the alternate location know that, in the event of an emergency, you will need use of their facilities. Have all members of your family memorize the address and phone number of the alternate location and agree they will phone as soon as possible with information about their whereabouts.

It is essential to understand how important it is to have a plan ready should something unexpected occur. They encourage people to consider their specific environment when creating a plan, and to take into account the emergencies they could potentially be facing. For instance, those in Florida are more likely to be faced with a hurricane evacuation than a tornado scenario. In other cases, crises are universal and everyone should be prepared. Fire-related crisis and national events would trigger an emergency plan regardless of where you are living.

Without going overboard, incorporate crisis preparation into your everyday life. For instance, if you are shopping for a home in the plains area of the United States, look for a home with a basemen to hide in during a tornado. Those living near a coast may need a home with a higher elevation in order to avoid flooding during hurricanes and bad storms.

It is important to act with caution and make responsible decisions so you can save yourself money and more importantly, be safe in the future. Furthermore, your decisions and preparation today could save your life during a future emergency. It is never too soon to start planning for the unexpected. A strong communication plan, emergency materials, and evacuation know-how can go a long way in saving the lives of your family and co-workers.

Gary Trevano is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find Your Guide to Dealing With Home Emergencies or more Home Care articles at the Yodle Consumer Guide, The Yodler. Also check out Creating an Emergency Preparedness Plan

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