Every year, we update our crisis plan in order to prepare for unexpected events such as a disaster or large-scale emergencies. This is why September’s National Preparedness Month is so important. Although I think that every year, preparedness is important! This year, we have faced an unexpected global pandemic emergency forcing us all to think about how we can better prepare for such events.
As we continue to move forward and push ahead, businesses have closed, and people are adapting to a new normal in their everyday lives. Since many people are working from home due to the pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has labeled this year’s theme “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.” During September, the DHS is looking to promote family and community disaster planning now and throughout the year. And, as our nation continues to respond to COVID-19, there is no better time to start planning than now.
Below are four recommendations by the DHS you and your family can prepare for if a potential disaster should occur.
- Make A Plan
Talk to your friends and family about how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster. Make sure to update your plan based on the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommendations due to the coronavirus. And don’t forget to include pets in your disaster plans.
- Build A Kit
Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home. Don’t forget to consider the unique needs each person or pet may have in case you have to evacuate quickly. Update your kits and supplies based on recommendations by the CDC.
- Prepare for Disasters
Limit the impact that disasters have on you and your family. Know the risk of disasters in your area and check your insurance coverage. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards and act fast if you receive a local warning or alert.
- Teach Youth About Preparedness
Talk to your kids about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Reassure them by providing information about how they can get involved.
Since we may be at home now more than ever before (working virtually from home or adults helping children with online learning), below are just a few natural disasters you can prepare for at home. Take a moment to discuss these as a family; and decide how you can prepare for them.
Every event or disaster is unique, and depending on where you may live or work, certain risks may be greater. Fire, earthquakes, and power outages are among some of the most common emergencies you may face at home. So, we wanted to share with you a few ways to prepare for each of them.
How to Prepare for Emergencies at Home
- Install the proper number of smoke alarms and schedule routine battery replacement. For example, every year on New Year’s Day, make a reminder to replace all batteries. Since I can’t reach the smoke alarm, I leave maintenance to those who have opposable thumbs.
- Show children how to identify the sound of the smoke alarm and instruct them about what to do if the alarm sounds. Teach household members to stop, drop, and roll if they were to catch on fire.
- Ensure everyone knows emergency exits (in case one is obstructed). Teach your family how to call 9-1-1. Even small children can be taught. Admittedly, most dogs probably wouldn’t be able to make the call.
- Plan a family meeting spot outside of your home and establish a family emergency communications plan. Make sure all household members know who to contact if they cannot find each other.
- Practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On with family members.
- Secure heavy items in your home like bookcases, refrigerators, televisions, and objects that hang on walls. Store heavy and breakable objects on low shelves. I suggest storing dog treats at low levels for easy accessibility.
- Create a family emergency communications plan that has an out-of-state contact. Plan where to meet if you get separated.
- Make a supply kit that includes food and water for at least three days for each person. Include a flashlight, a fire extinguisher, a first-aid kit with enough supplies for each family member, and a battery-powered radio or whistle. And don’t forget about pet food!
- Store batteries and/or have a generator on hand sufficient to meet your needs if the power goes out. Have backup batteries or chargers ready to power phones and small electronic devices.
- Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Minimize access to your refrigerator or freezer to keep cold air in and items colder.
- Sign up for local alerts and warning systems to monitor weather reports.
- Make a supply kit that includes food and water for at least three days for each person and pet. Include a flashlight, a fire extinguisher, a first-aid kit with enough supplies for each family member, and a battery-powered radio or whistle.
Whether you are at work or home, we care about your health and safety. In addition to being prepared at home, make sure you are prepared at work and have the necessary items in your workplace in the event you may need them in a natural disaster. A convenient and affordable way to make sure residential high-rise occupants are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to our blog and contact us. Our system has been designed to help improve safety and save lives. For more information about our services, or to subscribe, click here.