No one wants to think that a disaster can strike them. Unfortunately, disasters don’t care what we hope. While there is no way to avoid them, preparation is key to surviving the rough times.
Plan an Escape Route
When disaster hits, panic will be in the air. Stay calm by setting up a plan that can be easily executed, providing confidence throughout the situation. To start, you need an escape route. In the event of a flood filling the bottom floors, or a fire consuming the top floor, make sure your entire family knows where to go and how to get there. Customize the plan to your house, family and area. If your home environment is susceptible to many tornados, frequent flooding or even heavy snowfall, make sure your plan fits the threats. If it’s tornados you are concerned with, make the safe spot the basement. If the concern is flooding, make the safe spot upstairs. Some aspects to consider include:
Tornados, hurricanes and flooding can all tear apart a home, so designate a safe spot outside the home for your family. A meeting spot will help children understand where a safe location is when they are unable to come home. Having scattered and lost family members is a terrible feeling, and if cell phone and regular communication methods are out, a designated meeting spot provides a sense of security for family members.
If you have a pet, make arrangements for them too. They may not understand a safe spot, but their safety is equally important. Alert and ask your neighbors to bring them to safety in the event you are not home after a disaster. Also, check with the local Humane Society, as some offer a pet pick-up service during these times.
Plan for multiple exits of each room. You never know when, where or how hard a disaster may strike. If one exit is blocked, it is important to identify a second.
Expand the plan to include city and regional aspects. Know the town’s escape routes, emergency numbers and contact information and even some of your neighbors’ contact information. This will help everyone. The more people prepared when disaster strikes, the less pressure emergency officials have.
Preparing for a disaster doesn’t stop at home, however. Make sure you have the emergency plan for your office or school down pat. Also, learn an emergency route to get from work or school to your home. Main or regularly traveled roads are prone to traffic jams, so plan around or use alternative routes.