Emergency Preparedness for Normal People.
Prepare for the Likely Threats First.
A storm or event is not a disaster if the inhabitants are prepared and no major damage is reported. Here in northern Utah, hurricanes, powerful tornadoes and storm surge are very unlikely events, (although my daughter who recently moved to Geogia might have to deal with those events). That isn’t to say we don’t occasionally see hurricane force winds and the occasional super cell thunderstorm, but we those are rare enough that we don’t worry about them as much as we worry about earthquakes and heavy snow storms (with the threats of avalanches, and flash flooding when all of that snow melts).
Determine what the potential threats for your area are, then adjust your plans to address those threats.
Emergency Preparedness for Normal People.
KISS, Keep It Simple S..... There are two places you’ll be when disaster strikes, at home, or away from home. It’s that simple, and unless you are in a public service profession, your concerns will only be for yourself and your family (public service people should already have a plan in place). When disaster strikes at home, plans will be different than plans for when you are away from home, but regardless, when making any and all plans, KISS.
Families should make disaster plans, whether they are traditional families, non-traditional families, social groups, or room-mates. If they all live under the same roof, they need a plan. That said, gather your group together and determine the following things.
First, decide how and who to contact so that loved ones (within the group as well as without) know where and how you are. Then if you’re away from home you know who to contact to let the others know you are alive. Cell phone and texting plans should be discussed (texting is typically more reliable than voice calls), as in who everyone calls to check in. This should part of the plan should include one person in the group and a designated person outside of the group, (grandma, an uncle or aunt etc. This is someone outside of the area who can spread the word about your safety or lack thereof). Also consider other means of communication, like the internet, amateur or other two way radio (if available), or even notes left at the designated meeting place. The plan should also include at least one meeting place outside the residence in case the residence is gone. A secondary meeting place outside of the neighborhood is also a good idea in case of evacuations. Name two places, and two people. That doesn’t sound so hard, does it?
Second, figure out what emergency supplies you have. No one can be prepared for every disaster, and some disasters will destroy those supplies, or the supplies won’t be available if disaster strikes while family members are away, but having supplies won’t do any good if no one knows where they are either. Make sure every one knows where the flashlights, batteries and tools for turning off utilities and other survival gear are. Hopefully it will all be in one place. If not, now might be a good time to get it there. Another item to address is important papers, like passports, medical records and such. These can be very helpful in the event of an evacuation. A few minutes collecting these things now will make finding them when disaster strikes much easier. In addition, don’t forget about your pets! Of course they won’t be involved with the planning, but their safety after the disaster is just as important as your own. Make sure their needs are met, and decide who is assigned to take care of them.
Next: once you’ve figured out what you don’t have, make plans to get it, or decide if you can really do without it. And as long as you have everything in one place, consider a good container to put them in (backpacks usually spring to mind, but there are other options). This will also be helpful in the event of an evacuation.
While these steps are just the beginning, emergency plans don’t have to be complicated, and probably shouldn’t be. Even these simple steps will cover a lot of the issues that arise when disasters happen.