Everyone knows that it’s smart to plan ahead. Parents plan ahead for their children’s college education, workers plan ahead for retirement, and everyone plans ahead for vacation. Getting together emergency supplies and kits may be the most important type of advance planning any family can do: Once a storm hits, it’s too late. To keep loved ones safe, adults need to take the initiative and take action before the clouds roll in.
Emergency Supplies and Kits
Building an emergency kit is not as strenuous or expensive as most assume, and a small stash of essential, non-perishable foods and water can make a huge difference. All emergency kits should include a first aid kit, a cell phone, a light source like a flashlight or lantern, and food and water. Non-perishable foods go well beyond canned vegetables and processed meat products: High-energy treats like granola bars, peanut butter, and even candy can provide vital energy in an emergency. Those living in colder climates should also always have a backup plan to keep themselves warm should a blizzard knock out the power.
Teaching Emergency Preparedness at Home
No one wants to scare their kids, but knowledge saves lives. Children have survived horrific natural disasters on their own when they know which rooms are safe and where emergency supplies are kept. It’s best to teach kids early about severe weather and natural disasters. There are fun ways online for them to learn, and families living in earthquake or tornado zones may find that their kids already know an awful lot thanks to school safety drills. Still, it’s important for families to take the time to ensure that their children have the tools they need in case of a disaster.
Creating a Family Disaster Plan
Every family faces unique circumstances in a severe storm. One parent may not be home when a tornado hits, or children may be visiting friends during an earthquake. Since these disasters can easily disrupt communication, it’s imperative that families plan ahead. Natural disasters won’t wait until everyone is ready. A plan should tell kids not only how to stay safe during the event but what to do afterward. Where should they meet parents if they get separated? Are there other adults they can contact if they can’t reach either parent? If the home becomes unsafe and everyone has to flee, what neighborhood landmark can serve as a gathering point?
Pet Safety Tips
Losing a pet is devastating at the best of times, and during a disaster situation, the family pet may be an essential part of emotional recovery and stability. Families with pets should take their creatures into consideration during emergency prep and family disaster planning. Is there enough water stored for your pet to drink, too? Are there extra cans of food with the supplies? What about treats? If something happens while the adults are away, who is responsible for the pet? Keeping backup leashes and collapsible crates on hand is also a good idea.
Post-Storm Roof Inspection
Roofing needs regular inspections to do its job in normal weather. After a severe storm, however, it needs immediate attention. Strong winds may cause a few loose shingles or compromise major supports. Not only is this a home insurance policy concern, but it could quickly become a safety issue if damage isn’t properly assessed and repaired in a timely fashion. Homeowners and landlords should include a list of inspectors and reputable emergency repair contractors in their emergency kit. Digging through the phone book or hunting for Internet access after a tornado tears through the neighborhood wastes precious time and compounds frustration. Like any part of emergency prep, it’s best to plan ahead.
Safety Measures After a Hurricane or Tropical Storm
If possible, families should arrange for a home inspection before returning after a hurricane. Even if a family chooses to shelter in place, time is of the essence once the storm passes. Before letting children loose in the home, adults need to check for broken glass, broken gas lines, flooding, water damage, and even animals that might have taken shelter in the home during the storm. A professional inspector can help ensure that all problems are found before they become major issues so the home remains a safe place in the face of future storms.
- How to Be Safe After a Hurricane
- Build an Emergency Kit for Your Pets
- Pet Disaster Preparedness
- Keeping Pets Safe in an Emergency
- How Much Water You Need to Save for an Emergency
- How to Build an Emergency Kit
- Taking Care of Your Roof After a Storm
- Make a Disaster Preparedness Plan
- Tips for a Family Disaster Plan
- Family Action Plan Form
- Making Kids’ Emergency Kits for School
- Parent Guidelines for Helping Children After a Tornado
- Tornado Safety Tips for Parents
- Talking Tornadoes with Kids
- Before, During, and After a Tornado
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Hurricanes
- Stocking Emergency Food and Water Supplies
- Disaster Supply Kit Guide
- What to Include in an Emergency Kit
- Protecting Property From Damage
- Blizzard Home Preparation Checklist
- How to Clean Up Safely After a Hurricane or Flood
- Five Ways to Prepare Your Family for the Big One
- Recommended Earthquake Safety Actions
- Winter Car Emergency Kit
- Make a DIY Office Emergency Kit
- Determining Severe Weather Shelter Areas in Buildings
- Earthquake Preparedness Checklist
- What to Do if You Are Separated From Your Kids in an Earthquake