September is National Preparedness Month and the perfect time to make sure that you, your family, and your home are ready to face safety or weather emergencies. Household preparedness goes beyond having an emergency kit but also includes knowing what to do, where to go, and who to call in the case of an emergency. Below are some tips from FEMAl’s website regarding making sure you and your family are prepared to face whatever may come your way.
- Make a list of emergency contact phone numbers – be sure to include numbers for your electric and gas company,
- Make a contact list for your medical and benefit providers such as your doctor, pharmacist, medical insurance company, dental insurance, home/auto insurance, life insurance, and more.
- Designate an evacuation location at which your family will meet at in the case of a fire.
- Talk with your family and warning systems and signals – make sure children know the difference between a weather watch and warning. Be sure everyone knows what to do in the case of a tornado siren.
- Put together an emergency kit inclusive of flashlights, batteries, a battery-powered radio, water, non-perishable snacks, blankets, a change of clothing, activities for the kids (to keep them entertained while stuck in the storm shelter) and a first aid kit. It is a good idea to have an emergency kit in in your car as well as the storm-shelter in your house. The kit in your vehicle should also contain jumper cables, cat litter or sand (for better tire traction), a shovel, ice scraper, reflective triangles or flares, and a cell phone charger.
- Go over with your family your plan of action for different situations. Where will you go in the case of severe weather? How do you exit the house in the case of a fire? What should be done if someone smells a gas leak (it is also a good idea to talk with children about what the warning signs of a gas leaks are)?
- If your children have cell phones be sure to program in and ICE (In Case of Emergency) phone number – if they are ever in an accident, emergency responders will often check cell phones for this number to get a hold of someone.
- Talk with your family about how to communicate with one another if an emergency occurs when you are not together. If the service is available make sure everyone knows how to send a text message, text messages can often get through to a recipient even when phone calls might not be able to.
- Get a copy of vital records and information in a safe place in your home. Make sure that each family member knows where this information is located should they need to find quickly and easily. Records that you should keep on hand include: birth certificates, social security cards, marriage licenses, passports, wills, mortgage or real estate deeds, vehicle registrations, insurance information and bank statements.
- Think about enrolling yourself and your family in first aid and/or CPR classes.
For more information on National Preparedness and how to make sure you and your home are ready for emergencies, check out National Preparedness Website.