Perhaps the most important thing you can do to prepare for an emergency is to talk about it before it happens. Especially families with kids should make plans and preparations for all types of emergencies.
Here are a few of the basics that you should cover with your family to make sure you all know what to do in an emergency:
Know Your Home
First of all, make sure you know what to do if anything happens while you are at home. This includes several basic know-hows.
First, make maps of each floor of your house and plan clear escape routes from each room. Have your kids practice following the escape plans and gather together at a designated meeting spot outdoors.
Second, make sure everyone learns how to shut off the gas, electricity, and water in your home. If you ever have to evacuate your home, it’s best to turn off these utilities – because they could lead to extra damage to your home and safety during an emergency.
Third, be sure everyone in your home knows where fire extinguishers, emergency kits, and other emergency equipment are in your home (and how to use them).
Fourth, learn where “safe” areas in your home are. Especially if you live in areas prone to earthquakes or tornadoes, it’s important to know where to “hide” for ultimate protection.
Next, give your kids a list of emergency numbers, e-mails, and addresses on hand all the time. As for you, don’t rely on your cell phone’s memory to keep numbers for you. In case your battery dies or you lose your phone, you’ll need a way to contact friends and/or family for help.
Finally, make sure you have emergency supplies on hand and ready to go at all times. Pack food, water, extra clothing, medicine, a first aid kit, a battery-charged radio, flashlight, and other essential items for your family.
As you and your kids talk about emergencies in advance, you’ll be prepared to face anything!