Immediately after September 11, 2001, individuals scrambled to prepare for the unexpected. We were so caught off-guard, that citizens began to squirrel away food, water, batteries and other essentials “just in case.” When Hurricane Sandy approached, residents scrambled and stocked up on frozen pizzas, milk, and flashlight batteries, only to have to toss out the spoiled and defrosted food after towns were plunged into darkness for weeks. You’ve seen it over and over. Every time a snowstorm is predicted to bury us under multiple feet of snow, the lines at Shop-Rite are out the door and a loaf of bread is nowhere to be found. We wait until we are on the edge of disaster and we “react” instead of “act.”
To combat the confusion, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has designated September as: "National Prepardness Month". This specific event was created in response to the 9/11 attacks and is meant to reach out to citizens and help them plan for any disaster, man-made or natural, that could strike. Statistically, you and your loved ones have a better chance at surviving a disaster if you plan up front.
FEMA has titled this year's event: “Don’t Wait, Communicate”, because that sentence is the centerpiece of any good emergency plan.
The two biggest issues that usually occur during a disaster that lead to confusion and possibly harm are:
1) the breakdown in communication between families and friends (I can not locate someone) AND
2) not stocking the right supplies for the disaster, (frozen foods, perishables, rechargeable batteries )
So let's look at both of these important topics:
Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes. Your spouse may be at work, your children at school, your parents on a trip: so it is important to think about the following situations and plan just in case.
· How will my family/household get emergency warnings?
· How will my family/household get to a safe location/ meeting place for relevant emergencies?
· How will my family/household get in touch if cell phone, internet, or landline doesn’t work?
· How will I let loved ones know I am safe?
Having a working "shared" communication plan is vital to not spinning your wheels and worrying continuously about those you care about. Below are some links to websites where you can download individualized Emergency Communication Plans for Children, Commuters and Seniors:
2. A DISASTER PREPAREDNESS KIT:
Beyond bread, milk, diapers and Duracell. How do you assemble a cohesive, useful, Disaster Supply Kit that will be your lifeline during a prolonged emergency? Here are some suggested items:
Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person; each person will need a gallon each day
Food: Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water
Pack a manual can opener, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils. Choose foods your family will eat.
First Aid Kit - Things You Should Have:
Two pairs of sterile gloves
Sterile dressings to stop bleeding
Soap and antibiotic towelettes to disinfect
Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection
Burn ointment to prevent infection
Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
Eye wash solution to flush the eyes
Prescription medications you take every day (you should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates)
Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies
First Aid book
Non-prescription drugs (aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid, laxative)
Whistle to signal for help
Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
Moist towelettes for sanitation
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
For a complete list of tools and non-perishables click on the links below:
For further reading, below are links to our website, where we have an extensive section in this very topic, plus websites to U.S. Government sites that have outstanding information on the subject:
Stay safe and be prepared. :)