September is National Preparedness Month: Make Your Game Plan Now!
September is National Preparedness Month. With fall storms just around the corner and the potential for earthquakes in Puget Sound, preparing for a disaster can help minimize problems. The first step to being prepared means creating a game plan and practicing it with your family.
Identify Potential Emergencies
Make a plan by identifying the types of emergencies your family might experience. In Washington and Oregon, earthquakes, windstorms and floods are some of the biggest concerns. Fires, tsunamis and volcanic activity are other possibilities in certain areas.
Write Down Actions
Write down the actions each member of your family needs to take when each type of emergency occurs. Include escape routes from your home. Describe the meeting place near your home where everyone should meet if separated, such as in the event of a home fire. The Red Cross provides an excellent online planning resource based on type of disaster and what you need to plan to get through it. For more ideas, click here to read our blog post about creating a written plan for a fire emergency.
Create a Survival Kit
Putting aside supplies in the event of an emergency is another aspect of making a plan. Supplies include a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, food, water, medications, first aid supplies, personal hygiene products, pet supplies and extra cash, among other things. The Red Cross offers a basic list of supplies to get you started – click here to review the list. See our blog post, Earthquake Preparedness Emergency Kit Supplies, for information on prepping for the big one.
Download Free Apps
The First Aid app offered by the Red Cross provides information on how to handle common first aid emergencies. The Pet First Aid app, also provided by the Red Cross, keeps track of information your vet needs if your pet needs medical attention. Click here for more information on the apps.
Download Zello, an app that turns your cell phone into a push-to-talk walkie talkie. The app is a great way to communicate with family members when you’re taking care of emergency tasks and need quick answers and updates.
Sign up with Nextdoor, and use their app to contact neighbors if you need help and can’t get through to 9-1-1, a common problem during a disaster. Nextdoor also posts valuable local information about shelters, evacuation maps and orders, rescue information and more.
Create a scenario where the emergency occurs. Then make sure each person in your household knows what to do. Include plans for evacuating your home as well as staying in your home when services and supplies may not be readily available nearby. Practicing not only gives everyone an opportunity to participate and learn their responsibilities, but it also gives you a chance to revise your plan if it doesn’t work like intended.