Taking Precautionary Measures With an Emergency Preparedness Checklist

When disaster strikes, sometimes there just isn’t enough time to prepare. Thankfully, there is an emergency preparedness checklist that can assist with all types of disasters that Mother Nature or man may throw your way. These disasters include tornadoes, flash floods, earthquakes, winter storms, hurricanes, fires, and hazardous material spills. Preparing in advance is the best way to avoid total catastrophe when an unexpected disaster strikes.

Before gathering materials for a disaster, call a local American Red Cross chapter to ascertain which types of disasters your area could potentially face. Ask how to prepare for each disaster as there are specific tasks for each scenario. During this time, inquire about your community’s existing evacuation routes. Inquire about both workplace and school emergency plans.

After gathering all pertinent information, create an emergency plan for your household. Have all family members meet and discuss the different disasters that could occur in your area. Determine the safest spots in your home for everyone to rendezvous in an emergency. If there are young children in the house, explain to them how and when to call 911. Post an emergency telephone number near all telephones in the house for easy access during an emergency. On the emergency telephone sheet, have an out of state relative or friend on the list that everyone can call in case there is a separation during the emergency.

Another vital piece of information that should be shared during the household meeting is the escape routes from the house. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this task is to have someone draw a floor plan of the home and then color coordinate the escape routes. This method makes it simple for children to understand. At this time, it is also important to instruct household members on how to turn off the gas, water, and electricity at the main switches. In case of separation during a natural disaster, it is important to establish two emergency meeting places. These places should be easy for both children and adults to navigate to on their own if necessary.

For extra precaution, have every able member of the household take a simple and basic first aid and CPR class. These classes are easy enough for anyone to take and usually consist of a class lasting about four hours. The more people in the house that are certified in first aid, the better off you will be.

One of the last things on the emergency preparedness checklist is to gather all necessary supplies for an emergency. As a general rule of thumb, you should have one gallon of water per person per day. The water supply should be stored in unbreakable containers and replenished every 6 months. As far as food, everything should be nonperishable and prepackaged in cans or packages. If you have cans, be sure to purchase a manual can opener in case the electricity goes out. A change of clothes for every member of the household should also be placed in this area. Be sure to include a sturdy pair of shoes. Other items to include in the supply kit include:

  • Blankets and sleeping bags
  • First aid supplies
  • Medications
  • An extra pair of glasses or contacts
  • Battery powered radio
  • Flashlight
  • Credit cards and cash
  • Extra set of car keys
  • Special items for infants, elderly, pets, or disabled family members

Preparing for a disaster before it hits is the key. By following this emergency preparedness checklist, you and your family can be well prepared for any disastrous situation.