There have been dozens of articles written about how communities have been devastated by disasters over the last decade. However, many communities have great community emergency preparedness plans in action and are ready to respond quickly in the event that it is struck by a disaster. While this is great, it doesn't mean that your family can just sit back and rely on community plans alone. In order to ensure that you are able to meet the challenges that a large-scale disaster can have on your lives, it is important that you develop a family emergency and disaster preparedness plan.
Know What You're Up Against
The first step in developing your family preparedness plan is to know what hazards your family is likely to face. The hazards that impact your community are going to vary depending on where you live. Some people will want to learn about wildfires and floods, while others will need to learn about tornadoes and explosions.
Family Hazard Mitigation
After you know what hazards can impact your family your next step will be to determine if there are steps that you can take to reduce your vulnerability to these hazards. For example, if you live in a tornado zone then you can look into building a tornado safe room or an underground shelter. On the other hand, if you live in a high-risk zone for floods you can look into building water barriers around your home. If money is an issue than work with your state or local emergency management agencies, as they have grant money available from FEMA for mitigation projects.
Shelters and Evacuation Routes
The next step is to identify where important community resources are. For example, you will want to identify where local shelters are and where evacuation routes are. If you live in an area with limited escape routes, try to find at least one alternative route in the event that the primary route is blocked.
Emergency Home Kit
If your neighborhood is struck suddenly by a disaster chances are that you will be on your own for between 24 and 72 hours. This means that to be prepared for an emergency your family will need to gather emergency supplies to make it through this alone time. Things you will need include medical supplies, bottled water, a non-perishable food similar to XMRE or Eversafe products, flashlights, batteries, radio, blankets, and clothing. If you are on medications, then you will want to keep a week's supply on hand during disaster seasons.