I was recently provided with the following cheat sheet on how to prepare for an emergency. In the Northeast, winter is just starting - although I think we've had two snowfalls already. With Superstorm Sandy behind us and possibly winter snow storms coming in - I thought repeating the steps for Emergency Readiness would be helpful. But I also added some of my own thoughts, because, even with this great 3 step plan - there are difficulties in being prepared.
Through it's Ready Campaign the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA educates people to take some simple steps to prepare for emergencies.
There are 3 key things:
1. Get an emergency supply kit.
2. Make a family emergency plan
3. Be informed about the different emergencies.
1. Emergency supply kit. What should be in it?
- One gallon of water per person per day - too difficulty to assess because who was prepared to be without electricity, heat, running water from Superstorm Sandy - so our goal was to have at least enough water for a day or two - after that, we would had to leave our home and go somewhere with heat, hot water etc.,
- Flashlight and batteries - excellent and easy to obtain and keep available
- Battery powered radio- this became our only source of information - I'm not a millenial - I'm more like a baby boomer and sitting in a cold, dark house with only a battery powered radio was calming but aggravating because we could not see all the destruction that was being described. Also, our town was doing a local cablevision show about problems with running water - since we had no electricity in our home - we did not know about water problems. Small little towns have to do more in terms of getting the word out - at least one door knock on each block - we're not that big of a town.
- A three day supply of non-perishable food - doable, if you like canned foods
- Can opener - hand operated and able to find in the dark
- First Aid kit - see below comments
- Whistle to signal for help - good to know for next time.
Additional items to consider:
- Infant formula and diapers - OK
- Pet food - OK
- Prescription medication - how do I prepare for this? What doctor or pharmacist, for that matter, will provide me with a supply of meds, that I can put away for a rainy day - expiry dates come into mind, insurance company restrictions, refrigeration - really, how would someone have enough of their prescription meds for an additional month?
- Glasses - OK
- Sleeping bags - OK
- Warm blankets and clothes for each person - OK
- Moist towelettes and garbage bags - OK
- Important family documents in a water and fire proof container - OK - maybe have a duplicate set in a bank safe as well. I don't think that a fire/water proof container was of any use to the families along the shore lines who lost everything - it's just gone.
2. Make a family emergency plan.
- Decide how you will get in contact with each other during an emergency - you don't have control over how you will get in contact with anyone- no internet means no phone in some cases, no electricity means no landlines - you may not have a method of getting in touch.
- Where will you go? How will you know?
- Where will you meet? This is a good plan - after 9/11, my husband and I made a plan to meet at a specific point in our State - I doubt today that he would remember that plan so every once in a while, I'll bring it up - but I get that "eyeroll" and so I think he's filing this conversation away under "over vigilant wife" - or some other nonsense.
3. Be informed about the different emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses.
Superstorm Sandy gave us (my family) just a hint of what a real emergency might have been. I think we pulled together. We thank God that everyone in our family was OK and had options on where we could go. We pray for those who are still without homes, power, heat and everything else we take for granted everyday.