September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). If disaster struck today would you be prepared? Preparation begins with you and your family. Do you have a plan?
This week is about making a plan for yourself, your family and your friends. Everyone needs to take action to prepare. Individuals help first responders in our community by preparing for an emergency and knowing what to do when disaster strikes -- where we live, work and visit. The goal of NPM is to increase the overall number of individuals, families, and communities that engage in preparedness actions at home, work, business, school and place of worship.
Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know the family preparedness plan. Know how you'll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that is familiar and easy to find.
Put together a plan by discussing these four questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan:
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route?
- What is my family or household communication plan?
Keep in mind the following factors when developing your household plan:
- Different ages of members within your household
- Responsibilities for assisting others
- Locations frequented
- Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
- Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
- Languages spoken
- Cultural and religious considerations
- Pets or service animals
- Households with school-aged children
Also make sure to consider specific needs in your household. As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.
Create and Fill out a Family Emergency Plan and Practice It
Download and fill out the FEMA family emergency plan or use it as a guide to create your own. Once you have a plan prepared and you feel it is complete, make sure to practice your plan with all members of your family or household.
Remember, preparing for emergencies should not fall on your shoulders alone. Young children and teens should be a part of the process, both for their own safety and to give them a sense of empowerment. Now is the time to work together to create a family communications plan, assemble an emergency kit and practice what you would do during a disaster. A little preparation now can provide peace of mind and security later.