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4 Tips to Help Families Prepare for Emergencies


September is National Preparedness Month, the perfect time to think about family disaster and emergency planning.

Every second matters in an emergency. Some emergencies are large and obvious, while others may be relatively minor. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and wildfires can cause severe damage and endanger lives. Man-made disasters such as terrorism, famines or war can be just as lethal. Preparedness can mean life or death in disasters and emergencies.

Different kinds of devastations occur across the world, but there are steps that everyone can take to be prepared. Here are four tips to help you develop a plan today, so you can be equipped for tomorrow.

Be Informed
Knowledge is power. By learning about natural and man-made threats you are preparing yourself to better respond to an emergency. Government agencies like FEMA and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention provide helpful information on planning for specific threats and emergencies.

Build an Emergency Kit
When disaster strikes, you want to ensure your family has essential supplies to survive on your own for at least three days, possibly longer. Key things to consider are fresh water, food, and clean air.

Here are some recommendations from government agencies on what to include in your supply kit:

  • one gallon of water per person per day for consumption and hygiene
  • at least a three-day non-perishable food supply
  • battery-operated radio; spare batteries, and flashlight
  • first aid kit
  • filter mask or cotton t-shirt to filter the air
  • moist towels for sanitation
  • plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
  • garbage bags and plastic ties for personal hygiene
  • unique family necessities such as prescription medications, infant formula, and diapers
  • and essential family documents

Make a Family Plan
A family emergency plan can help you prepare in advance for what you will do in a disaster. Your family might not be together when an emergency occurs. A communication plan will help you identify how you will connect with each other and determine what you will do in various situations. Depending on the kind of emergency, you will have to use common sense and official directives from television and radio stations to determine if you will stay in place or evacuate.

Help Your Community
After you have equipped your family for potential emergencies, get involved in helping to prepare your local community. Together we can make our communities and our country safer and better prepared.

Dr. Mark Notash is an emergency medicine doctor with the Townsend Emergency Medical Center at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam, and the Walk-In Clinic in Plainfield. For more resources on emergency medicine available at Day Kimball Hospital, click here >


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