This is common knowledge—that disaster is everywhere. The only leverage that anyone has against disasters is preparedness. Just like an illness, it is best to prevent it from occurring instead of thinking of the many cures that could be available. Although a disaster could strike anywhere or any minute, you could, at least, perceive a disaster plan in advance.
Preparedness is compulsory to families or even individuals. Let’s get down to the details. If you’re in a tornado-prone area, you should be able to set up a shelter where you and your entire family could hide when the tornado strikes.
When you’re living on an earthquake belt, be sure that your home is
earthquake-proof. And you should be able to immediately run under the sturdiest furniture in the house in case the roof caves in.
With people who live in areas where flash floods occur, they should immediately renovate their home to prepare for this calamity. A few levels added to the original floor plan would be necessary. If this is not possible, then the family should be able to cooperate in saving the appliances and furniture when this destructive force of nature hits.
In the case of aggression or acts of terrorism, the keyword is vigilance. Just be alert about who you mingle with (especially when you are in a crowded area or in deserted places). Be wary of suspicious-looking people (but don’t ignore the decent looking ones, too) and always be ready to act. If you can learn some form of self-defense it would be really beneficial.
In a nutshell, each individual should have a disaster plan (plan A and B, if necessary). Disasters are a reality that each of us should avoid but not ignore. Knowledge and preparedness should be able to save lives—many lives. This is not meant to frighten you but to warn you so that you could arm yourself with the essential things that you would need for survival. And the time to prepare is NOW.
Creating a Disaster Plan for Your Family
What is a Disaster Plan and why each family should have one
A disaster is a fact of life that no one can evade 100 percent. Calamities strike when you least expect them and they take lives by the hundreds (sometimes thousands). Although disasters can be anywhere at any given time, still, you can do something to lessen its catastrophic effects. Each family (or even individuals) should be organized and ready when the unexpected decides to show up.
Primarily, your family should be able to point out specific disasters that are common in your area. It would be silly to prepare against tornadoes when they do not or have never even occurred in your area, in the first place. As a family, you should know what disasters usually strike in your community.
Although it’s best to plan for any type of disaster, on top of the disaster plan should be your plan when the most common disaster strikes. As a family, you should be able to agree on what to do and whose role is what when the calamity happens. Each should have an equal task in countering the catastrophe.
Again, being prepared way ahead of the disaster is imperative. It is ridiculous to start talking in panic just when the family is coming face to face with, say, a flood. Bear in mind the necessities that could be cut off when calamities happen: no telephone lines (or worse, no cell phone signals), no electricity, or no water. Your plan should center on establishing the most important part of survival—food and asking for assistance.
If you and your family are not confined inside your home by the disaster, it is best to go to the nearest emergency management office in your area. If you’re at home and are not able to go out—don’t panic. Although help could take time to arrive, most probably it will, and the best thing to do is to wait it out and have ample food while waiting for help.
Here is a simple checklist that is necessary for your family’s disaster plan (but you could add more according to your family’s needs):
1. Know what type of disasters plague your community and base your
disaster plan on that.
2. Know if your community has a warning system. If yes, can you recognize it at any given minute?
3. Think of the people who cannot fend for themselves and who should take care of them during calamities (the elderly, disabled individuals, even pets).
4. Set a place where your entire family could meet in case your home caves in or is destroyed by a disaster. Have a plan A and plan B.
5. Have escape routes. Do not limit it to just one. Have at least two.
6. Post the emergency numbers where the flood cannot reach it and where it is safe from fire. It should be in a conspicuous area and everybody in the family should know where it is.
7. Set up a time for the entire family to practice the disaster plan at least once a month so that everyone would constantly be reminded of what they are tasked to do and how to be alert in their roles.
8. More than being physically and mentally prepared is to be prepared with necessities (food and some toiletries). Arrange a kit where there is ample food and water for everyone (at least 72 hours would be good), soap, and also some spare batteries. Always include a flashlight in your disaster kit.
9. As a family, you could enroll in classes that specifically deal with and discuss how to prepare your family against any disasters. A CPR or first aid class would be a necessity.
10. The last one on this list is very important: Tell your children what to expect during calamities and how not to panic. Let them know the warning signs of a potential disaster and how to contact you in case you do get separated.
Aside from all these necessary things to prepare, it is also better if you constantly keep a prayer in your heart that you and your family be kept safe from any harm during catastrophic moments.
A Disaster Kit
The Disaster Kit: What should be in it?
Just when a disaster strikes, more often than not, families tend to panic not knowing what to do. Although time and again, authorities tell everyone to prepare for any type of disaster in advance, many people are caught unprepared during such catastrophic events. And this is an alarming truth.
There are many ways of preparing for disasters. Your family could prepare a disaster plan where everything from escape routes and emergency communication can be discussed. The most important thing in this disaster plan should be the family’s disaster kit.
By design, a disaster kit should be able to help you survive until help is at hand or until the disaster has abated. In case of floods (where you could be confined inside your home), a disaster kit should be able to provide food and source of power while waiting for help; during earthquakes, power lines could be severed so your kit should be able to bridge those few days that you are without electricity. Your disaster kit is there for your survival.
But what’s IN a disaster supplies kit?
Take a pen and paper and start jotting down:
1. Keep in mind that the best time frame for any disaster kit would be AT LEAST 72 hours. So when you are planning for food that you would include in your kit, you should always multiply that by three
2. The most basic necessities during a disaster are: water, food, supplies for first aid and sanitation, extra clothes, and beddings.
3. Remember to put the necessary supplies inside an easy to carry bag (a backpack or duffle bag will do). The key here is for you to be able to get it immediately during a disaster and to carry it around with you if you have to.
4. For water: Remember to buy bottled water in advance. They are the safest and easiest to carry. Keep in mind that different people have varying needs for water. For mothers who are still nursing their children, people who are ill or even children all have varying needs. Remember also that when the weather is hot or humid, the body would need more water so better be prepared for it.
5. For food: Keep in mind that what you should bring with you are nonperishable foods. Store at least a 3-day supply of the following: canned meat or vegetables, canned soup or juices, salt, sugar, pepper (if you must), vitamins, and foods that provide energy (energy bars!). If you have kids in your family, better bring cookies and candies, too.
6. For your first aid supplies: Better bring bandages and gauze in different sizes, tweezers, scissors, wet towelettes, needle, any brand of antiseptic, thermometer, petroleum jelly, latex gloves, and soap. It is also advisable to include non-prescription medicines such as aspirin, antacid, anti-diarrhea drugs, and laxatives.
7. Sanitation provisions include toilet papers, soap, garbage bags, disinfectant, chlorine, and personal hygiene supplies.
8. Regarding clothing, it is necessary for each person to have at least one set of clothes and shoes (for one change). If you would need heating (and the disaster has severed that, too), then you could include a jacket and some bedding for each family member.
9. One very small but very important tool is a Swiss Army knife. This has everything that you would need during a calamity. With this, it is highly important to also bring spare batteries for your radio or TV. Together with all the above, be sure to know some items that are not on the list but are necessary for some members of the family such as: nursing formula for infants, feeding bottles, diapers, medications, and important
personal documents. For the documents, be sure that they are kept in a durable plastic envelope, plastic bag, or plastic container.
These are the most basic and absolutely the most important things that you should include in your disaster kit. When you have put them all in your bag, be sure to store them in a place where you have easy access even during emergencies. Remember, be prepared in advance to lessen the panic!
What If You Must Evacuate
What If You Must Evacuate? The Importance Of Routes And Practice
Many incidents, whether caused by humans or by nature, occur in ways that evacuation may be the only way to safety. Leaving a dangerous situation or a disaster-stricken place for safer grounds has been proven to spare the lives of countless victims from ultimate demise. For many disasters coordinating organizations around the world, evacuation from situations as small as burning buildings to large threats like hurricanes, flash floods and
even terrorist attacks may be the first step to be recommended or ordered to the affected population.
So what should you do in case an unfortunate event threatens your town or city and you are compelled to evacuate your area? What are the important pointers to remember to ensure that you and your family will remain to be safe in an evacuation? Here are two important steps that can increase your chances of evacuating for safer grounds.
Know Your Evacuation Route
The most important consideration for a safe and successful evacuation is to know where to run for safety. There is not much sense in having a ready bag of survival kits but not knowing where to go. In almost any evacuation, the route to safety may be the single basic information that should matter most to anyone concerned. Knowing the evacuation route cannot be overemphasized, as this is the part of the evacuation procedure on which the success of all the other steps in the process depends.
Evacuation route plans for your city or area must be placed in conspicuous locations like bulletin boards around streets, blocks, local government offices, and even popular cafeterias. Information about one’s present location and the directions one should take in case of evacuation must be prominently printed on the route notices. Some important reminders to add to these postings may be the meeting places and important things one can bring when emergencies requiring evacuation do exist.
Effective evacuation route notices must have more pictorial or graphical descriptions than textual ones; this ensures that the directions can be easily memorized. Route postings should be made with materials and sizes that can be easily detached from the place where they are posted and can be conveniently carried by the evacuees.
Evacuation routes must deal with primary and secondary exit routes in your city or area. It is also helpful that assembly areas per street or block must be established in the evacuation route, this will ensure that no one in the area is left out helplessly. Local authorities and your neighborhood must ensure that any assigned exit route must be kept clear from obstacles at all times. If possible, public address systems or speakers must be installed within the evacuation routes to remind people about things vital for survival like remaining to be calm.
Practice Your Evacuation Route
Despite advanced weather warning systems, most calamities happen without warning. The fact is that disasters can rarely be predicted in advance. The one thing that can help you and the people in your area is to have a sense of familiarity with what to do and where to go in case of emergency evacuation practices.
Evacuation route plans, no matter how important they are, maybe rendered useless if the steps in the plan are carried out in a fouled-up manner. The trick is to make the evacuation route plan as much a part of each individual’s instincts as possible. Each member of your community must be trained to prepare for evacuation emergencies. Local authorities, particularly of those areas often visited by nature’s wrath, must require their constituents to
undergo evacuation drills that stick to route plans.
Conducting drills pertaining to evacuation routes provides a venue for reviewing the efficiency and effectiveness of established route plans. Regular practice of the steps embedded in your local evacuation route plan will result in a more cohesive and organized manner of vacating your affected area.
Practice drastically reduces panic that can easily turn an already stressful emergency situation from bad to worse. Evacuation route drills increase self-confidence among members of the community which in turn increases the presence of mind among individuals. And the presence of mind spells safety or danger in real evacuations. Ultimately, a combined evacuation route plan is known to everyone in the community and regular evacuation drills based on the route plan can be the lifeline to safety.
Food Stores: The First Line Of Survival
Natural calamities like hurricanes, earthquakes, and snowstorms are but a few of the major disasters that can most certainly cut anyone’s access to essential necessities, particularly food. In the most trying times during and after an onslaught of natural or manmade calamities, the most important thing to have may not be your new pair of jeans or your plasma television set; but rather your stash of food at home. Food, along with water and first aid material is a fundamental prerequisite for any chance of survival during emergencies.
By taking the necessary steps to store food before any disaster strikes your area, you and your family will dramatically increase your odds of making it through. Even if you are living in a modern city where most people probably think that strong winds and tremors, among other things, can hardly affect your way of life, storing an emergency food supply may still be a good thing to consider. One can never tell what will happen when disasters strike, so there can be no room for complacency even in rare places where food supply may not likely be disrupted by a calamity.
The basic considerations in storing food in preparation for emergencies include the nutritive contents and the longevity of the type of food. It is always desirable to store food that will last for an extended period of time without causing food poisoning. The most common food supply that is convenient for emergencies comes in the form of canned goods, vacuum-packed goodies, and handy dry mixes.
Nevertheless, perishable food stored in your refrigerator is a vital addition to your emergency food supply. They may have a shorter shelf life, but steps should be taken to extend their usefulness and should never be squandered carelessly. Fresh leafy vegetables, fruits, meat, and poultry can last for a few weeks even in the absence of a working refrigerator in case electricity has
been cut off.
As for meat, fish, and poultry, if these are frozen hard, they may last for a week or two if they are kept frozen for as long as possible. At the first sign of electrical blackout in your area, you must put newspaper and other materials in your fridge as additional insulation to prevent ice crystals surrounding your frozen food from melting quickly; thereby, lengthening the frozen state and the life of your meat, fish, and poultry. If all these steps fail, the next best option is to cook and consume your frozen food immediately.
Fresh fruits and vegetables can last for days as long as flies and other parasites are kept at bay. Keep these foods covered and dry. If there is still ample time to prepare before a calamity strikes, pickling fruits and vegetables may be a good idea; pickled fruits will provide you with all the nutritional goodness of vegetables and fruits even during emergencies.
As you start to make your food cache in preparation for emergencies, you should also take into consideration the tastes and food preferences of each member of your family. As much as possible, your emergency food supply should consist of food that is familiar to you and your loved ones. Your emergency food stash does not have to be bland and displeasing, and worse, unwholesome.
A good list of food to store for emergencies includes dried fruits, meat, and fish. Canned meals, soup mixes, cereals, and noodles can provide substantial sources of energy. Do not forget high-energy chocolate bars, candies, crackers, and chips to keep the kids happy. And while you are building your food store, including instant coffee, juices, milk, sugar, and even tea; your body will need liquids as much as solid nutrients so do not forget potable water too.
As much as possible you should try to store food rich in energy; like food laden with carbohydrates and proteins. During emergencies, your muscles will need all the fuel they can get to function properly and efficiently. Also, try to include comfort foods in your food store; this will be good for children and adults as well. In the end, food will not only benefit your body but your determination to survive as well; as food will help decrease stress and raise the hope of survival for you and your family.
What About Your Pets In an Emergency
Caring for the Pets During an Emergency
Accidents and disasters can happen anytime. Things can get out of hand and before you know it, you are struck with a big problem. The damages can also be very devastating. Watching the news can sometimes help when it comes to storms and hurricanes. However, no matter how much you prepare, these events can happen when you are least prepared.
This is why people are now advised to get their own insurance. This is to protect the interest of everyone in the family in case an emergency happens.
However, what about pets?
You simply cannot leave your pets alone.
Thus, it is best to ensure their safety. Ordinary insurance policies will not cover the beloved pets. Our pets are also irreplaceable to us.
Thus, what can you do about your pets in an emergency situation?
The Well-Being and Safety of the Pet
There are many ways by which an owner can care for his or her pet under ordinary circumstances. However, when something out of the ordinary happens, you must also make sure that you are equipped with the right extraordinary means.
Many options are made available now to pet owners. These can provide contingency plans in case of a crisis or emergency situation. These will also ensure the safety of the pet even if disaster should strike. All it takes is for you, the owner, to know the option. Here are some of the points to keep in mind.
Securing a Pet Rescue Sticker
You can get an ET rescue sticker that will alert rescue teams in case of an emergency that you have one inside your premises. These stickers come in bright colors. It will also immediately indicate the kind of pet in the house. Make sure to put the sticker in a location where people can easily see it. Put it in the window, door, or gate. It must be prominently seen so rescuers can immediately respond.
Tell Your Neighbors about Your Pets
It is also a good idea to inform your neighbors that you have a pet inside the house. Your next-door neighbors can give a hand in getting your beloved cat or dog out of danger in case you are not around and something happens. Your neighbors also can take on the task of informing the rescuers about the presence of a pet inside your premises.
Inform the Management
For people who live in rented areas or apartments, it will also be helpful to inform the management of the pets you are keeping. They can easily notify you during an emergency situation through the contact information that they require.
Contact Information of the Veterinarian
It is also helpful to keep at hand the important numbers that you can contact in case something happens to your pets. The numbers of the veterinarian and animal emergency team can be very useful when the need arises.
Store Some Pet Carriers
Animals can also panic when things go out of hand. It is best to maintain the pets within your watch. Do not let them lose as much as possible or else they might just run away and encounter more danger. Make sure that you have a pet carrier or at least a collar and leash. These will help you keep your pets beside you in case of an emergency.
Consider the possible medical needs that may arise when it comes to your pets. It will be very prudent to include some stuff that in your emergency kit that your pet can benefit from.
Pets must also wear nametags with your name and contact number in it. This is a very good way to ensure that your pets can come back safely to you in case you lose hold of them.
You also have the choice to have your pet undergo a procedure to attach a microchip into the body of your pet. This is also relatively inexpensive. Animal shelters can use the microchip information so they can reunite immediately the lost pets to their owners.
These steps will definitely ensure that the safety and well-being of your pets will not be sacrificed during emergency situations. It will help you feel more at peace with the assurance that your beloved pet is at least insured in its own way.