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Get Through Any Disaster – What You Need To Know: Keys To Basic Preparedness II
Now it's time to set up a full checklist to review your level of preparedness that is not only regularly updated and revised, but that absolutely must be followed so that your family is well trained and aware of what to do in case of a disaster. The time for this planning is now, not once the disaster hits, as that will be way too late.
- Get a wind up crank operated radio today. It can save your life several times over.
- Get an ABC type fire extinguisher and make sure all family members know how to use it.
- Make sure all your smoke detectors are active and have fresh batteries.
- Post a list of emergency numbers for fire, police, medical, trusted friends and immediate family in several locations throughout your house. If you use cell phones, you should set these numbers up on speed dial. Providing a small index card to children with all these numbers, and possibly even sewing it into their overclothes, could be an invaluable procedure.
- Replace your stored food and water supply at least twice a year. More frequently is better still.
- Review your insurance policy to make sure that you are amply insured and with a main underwriter who isn't about to go bankrupt. The underwriting companies that are receiving huge government bailouts are the ones to stick with, such as AIG.
- Show all family members how to trip electrical breakers including the main switch, as well as turning off the gas line and water.
- Teach all children how to dial 911 and how to explain the situation to the operator.
Hold a comprehensive hunt for any home hazards and eliminate them immediately: That creaking step could lead to a horribly mangled broken leg; that loose overhead cabinet could fall on someone and break their ribs; and that very tiny leak in the heating system could blow up the entire house. Always fasten shelving to the wall with secure bolts, and place larger and heavier objects on the floor near the wall. Pictures and mirrors should be hung far away from beds or sitting areas and if possible they should be bolted in as well. Fallen over gas water heaters are a major cause of explosions and fire, so ensure that they are securely strapped in with seismic brackets.
If you have any members of your household who are disabled or ill, there are various other procedures that should be followed. If the person is mobile impaired they might not be able to make it up to the attic in case of flood, or into the basement in case of tornado, so special plans should be made to take those factors into consideration. If they rely on medical equipment, then a generator should be provided to ensure that their electric supply goes uninterrupted.
Another important factor is to coordinate with your immediate neighbors on how you can work together in case of a disaster. You don't have to limit neighborhood involvement only to crime watch groups or home owners associations, you can create a group of informed and concerned people who live in your vicinity to work on a comprehensive plan on how to proceed jointly in case of a disaster, whether social or natural. When you are coordinating the creation of this group, pay particular attention to the special skills of the members. There may be medically trained personnel, building contractors, tradespeople, or any number of skilled individuals that can be invaluable in these types of emergencies. At the same time, make a list of the neighbors who have members that might require special care, such as the disabled, senior citizens, ill individuals, or infants. A reciprocal arrangement for anything from trusted babysitting to providing care for seniors can be a real lifesaver in cases of disaster.