Work places and schools have safety and fire drills all the time, but most people don’t apply this training to their homes and family lives. Statistics from the Red Cross reveal only one in six people will assess the potential emergency risks in their area, make an emergency plan, and get an emergency kit to protect their family.
People avoid this type of planning because they don’t want to think about the worst-case scenario or the job seems too big and daunting. The truth is being unprepared for a potential emergency is much scarier than waiting until, as preppers like to say, SHTF. We’ve broken down some of the steps to create your own family disaster plan, to help keep your family safe and ready for whatever life or Mother Nature throws at them.
Look at Likely Risks
What kind of disasters are most likely to occur where you live? You can look at historical data or call your area’s municipality to get an idea of what kinds of hazards are the most common where you live. For example, do you live near a river, or train tracks, or in an area with a nickname like ‘Tornado Alley’? You’ll also want to record items that can impact anyone, anywhere, like a fire.
Have a Family Discussion
Talk about how any of your family may be exposed to potential emergencies and hazards. Talk about potential emergency routes in your community in case of evacuation, including emergency shelters, meeting places and ways that you will be able to communicate with one another if you are separated. Naturally these plans will change depending on the age of your children. Your discussion should also include details on how you’ll stay informed during emergencies, what to do with family pets, dietary and medical needs, and creating your own emergency network.
Get a Home Kit
The Red Cross has recommended that families have a home emergency kit that has at least three days worth of supplies, including water. Once you have purchased a kit, check it each year for items that require testing, or may expire, and replace them. If you use items in your kit, remember to replace them. To find out what to put in your home emergency kit click here. To learn how to build a travel emergency kit for your car click here.
Practice Makes Perfect
Part of planning is running drills. Your kids will be used to this from school, and you can make a game of it by trying to beat your best time. As a part of any potential drill this is the opportunity for you to make sure that everyone knows the safest route out of the house in case of a fire, the location of the home emergency kit (including your water supply), and your emergency meeting place location(s) – select one location outside of your home and one outside of your direct neighbourhood.
Remember, if someone in your family has needs that would require extra help in an emergency, put these details into your plan. Be a good neighbour and figure out who in your direct area may need help in case of an emergency so you can check in with them (or notify authorities), in the event of a neighbourhood related event.