Top Ten Disaster Preparedness Tips for Families

Disasters, particularly of the weather variety, roll through our world in late spring and early summer. It’s easy to prepare yourself and your family, much harder to pick up the pieces once damage is done. Having lived on the Gulf Coast in the path of hurricanes like Katrina, Jeanne, and Gustav, I can tell you the old ounce-of-prevention cliché is right on.

Here are some tips from FEMA, NOAA and other government specialists about being prepared.

  1. Understand the weather and non-weather crises that could affect your family and home.
    Talk about them often together in a non-intimidating way. Take a look at your home and region, getting to know your vulnerabilities to storm surge, flood, wind.
  2. Consider subscribing to email alerts for storms, hurricanes, floods or earthquakes if your area is often at risk.
  3. Designate a safe-room or safest area in your house and make sure everyone is aware of which area and why. If evacuation might be an issue, identify the places you can go, locally and distantly.
  4. Make sure each family member knows escape routes and places to meet.
  5. Appoint a friend or relative out of your area to be a clearing house of information. As each family member finds safety, they should call that designee who’ll be your single point of contact.
  6. Create a plan right now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate and remind everyone of that plan, often.
  7. Put a list of emergency telephone numbers by your phones. Make sure your young children know how and when to call 911 and what to say.
  8. Evaluate your insurance coverage periodically and remember that flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. Many insurance providers have redefined flood, so ask your agent. National Flood Insurance Program
  9. Keep a stock of non-perishable emergency supplies in or near your safest area or safe room. Make a disaster supply kit and refresh it from time to time.
  10. Buy a NOAA weather radio – do you know they come in wind-up, non-battery versions? If yours has batteries, replace them in June and December at the same time you do your smoke detectors.

Everyone in your family should take age-appropriate First Aid, CPR and disaster preparedness classes. Do it as a family and keep talking about how valuable it is to be prepared. You don’t want your children, or you, for that matter, to live in fear or to feel anxious, and that’s where preparedness comes in. If you have a plan and it’s familiar to all of you, it’ll kick in automatically when you need to take action.

Want to know more about the wind?
Read about tornados and being prepared.
Read about wind energy.

Written on 7/15/2009 by Maryan Pelland. Maryan is a professional freelance writer, in print and online, with a strong web presence at Ontext.com, Womandaybyday.com, and DemystifyingDigital.com. Photo Credit: howieluvzus

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