It’s Emergency Preparedness Month—A Good Time to Create an Emergency Checklist!
Eventually, most families will face some kind of an emergency situation—whether it’s an earthquake, an exceptionally bad storm, a fire, or flooding—the odds are that at some point, we will all need to be prepared for some type of a serious crisis. That’s when an emergency checklist becomes so important. A simple list, thought out well in advance, can provide the direction and information your family will need in any emergency. Yet surprisingly, few families take the time to make one, leaving them vulnerable and ill-prepared if the worst happens.
An effective emergency checklist includes everything your family needs to know, or do, in case of an emergency. It’s the ‘go-to’ item that is easy to make and may actually save lives in a crisis situation. While emergency checklists can become quite extensive, the following recommendations reflect the minimum content that a thorough, sound checklist should include:
- Establish your family’s meeting place(s). You should establish and document at least two meeting places: one within your neighborhood to use in case of a fire or other emergency that occurs in your immediate vicinity; and secondly, a place outside your neighborhood where you can meet should your home and neighborhood become inaccessible.
- Make a home evacuation plan. In case of a fire, everyone should be aware of the fastest and safest ways to evacuate your home from all rooms and all floors. You should then all meet in your predetermined neighborhood meeting location. It’s a good idea to practice the evacuation a few times each year.
- List nearby water sources. Jot down names and addresses (or better yet, maps) of nearby lakes, streams, rivers, or springs that can be used as potential water sources. Be sure to include water treatment tablets or drops in your emergency kit.
- Create an emergency contact phone list. This should include numbers for all of your family’s cell phones, closest neighbors, doctors and vet’s, and your workplace. It should also include at least one out of state family member or friend’s number in case your family has been forced to evacuate separately.
- Write down your medications. It’s critical to compile a list of medications and allergies that are applicable to each family member. If possible, store medications in a location that makes it easy to quickly grab critical medications in the event of an evacuation.
- Identify and document a go-to social media platform. Your entire family, extended family, and close friends should know and agree to contact each other via a specific social media platform in the event of a disaster. Consider listing one or two specific family members’ accounts as the go-to accounts for information, updates, and instructions.
- Download and notate emergency apps. You should also discuss which apps each of you will have downloaded and installed on your cell phones, like FEMA or Life360. FEMA will keep you posted on the status of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and the like, while an app like Life360 will allow you to set up your own family’s private network. There are lots of options available, so discuss which is best for your family and then make sure everyone has it and knows how to use it.
- Assign responsibility for the bug-out kit. Compile and store your emergency bug-out kit in an easy to get to place and then assign one person (usually a parent) with the responsibility of taking it to your meeting place. Don’t forget to include plenty of food, water (and/or water treatment tablets), first aid and hygiene supplies, medications, a fire or power source, tools, shelter, important documents, and of course your checklist.
- Assign a pet’s buddy. Assign one or more family members with the task of getting your pets out of danger and bringing them to your family meeting site. The pet buddy should grab the pet food bug-out kit, prepared in advance, that includes not only pet food but a bowl to drink water from, medications, and a list of allergies that emergency responders should be aware of. It’s a good idea to include a pet toy to help ease their anxiety, and, if pet carriers are needed, be sure to store them in an easy-to-grab location.
Holding a family meeting and compiling your emergency checklist will provide everyone with the peace of mind that come with emergency preparedness. How well your family responds to a crisis may depend on how well they understand and utilize your emergency checklist. Take the first step in family safety preparation by creating your own emergency checklist today.
Macey’s has teamed with Augason Farms to offer emergency food supplies and long term food storage to our valued customers for good reason. They’ve been in the business since 1972 and guarantee their products for great taste and superior quality. Maintaining a supply of Augason Farms products in your home is ideal not only for your emergency food supply but for everyday use as well. With Macey’s and Augason Farms, preparedness is simple and affordable!