Disasters can strike at any time, all the more reason to prepare ahead of time so that you can minimize the impact for your family, friends and business.
Since September is National Preparedness Month, it’s important to bring attention to some ways to begin preparing for disasters now. Once you’ve identified your hazards, you can then begin to build the basics of your emergency response plan.
Let’s focus on arguably the central most important piece of preparedness;:the emergency plan.
Whether you are creating a plan for your home or business the elements are generally the same. Threats or hazards that could cause injury, property damage, business disruption or environmental impact should be addressed. Some of the things to consider include how you will communicate with your family/employees, areas of safe refuge, and important contacts such as physicians, insurance, etc.
There are lots of templates available online that can help you develop a plan. The Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov website is one of the most popular. Planning, in the general sense, is always a useful endeavor in anything we do because it communicates what all participants should expect, and ideally will remove confusion and unrealistic assumptions.
Remember the 5 P’s of planning: “Prior planning prevents poor performance.”
Part 2: Make an Emergency Kit (The 72-hour Kit)
A 72-hour kit has many names but at the end of the day it is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.
You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but will be unable to reach those in need immediately.
It could be hours, or even days, that you receive aid from emergency services.
Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.
This blog post was contributed by Nick Sloan, Emergency Management Coordinator at Baylor Health Care System in Dallas, TX.