The importance of Family Emergency Preparedness

By Fort Campbell CourierOctober 22, 2010

An important facet to Family safety is having a plan and being prepared in case an emergency strikes.

Preparing yourself and your Family for all types of emergencies is very important.

Why is it important'

So you can increase your personal sense of security and peace of mind and to know you will be ready in case of an emergency.

When an emergency strikes, knowing what to do can save time, property and most of all, lives.

The three main priorities to emergency preparedness are getting an emergency preparedness kit, making a plan, and being informed.

Military Families often have unique needs and situations.

'Ready Army' [] is a website specifically for military families with information and advice to help with those unique needs.

FEMA[] is also a great source of information with downloadable forms, lists and resources.

The first step every Family should take is having an emergency kit ready.

When assembling an emergency kit ensure you have essential items necessary to sustain you and your Family for three to four days.

Clean water will be the most important item you will want to have on hand.

Water is not only important for drinking, but also to prepare foods and for hygiene.

Store one gallon of water for each member of the Family, for a three day supply.

Other essential items to have are:

Aca,!Ac Food - at least a three-day supply such as canned food items, bread/crackers and cereal/breakfast bars,

Aca,!Ac Items for infants/small children/seniors, or disabled persons - including formula, diapers, bottles, prescription medications, copies of medical prescriptions, extra eyeglasses and special foods.

Aca,!Ac Kitchen accessories - a manual can opener; mess kits or disposable cups, plates and utensils; utility knife; condiments; aluminum foil and plastic wrap; re-sealable plastic bags,

Aca,!Ac Battery-powered radio or television, flashlights and extra batteries

Aca,!Ac A first aid kit - including non-prescription medications that are regularly used; anti-inflammatory drug, antibiotic cream, antacids, and a medicine dropper.

Aca,!Ac One complete change of clothing and footwear for each person - including sturdy work shoes or boots along with seasonal items such as rain gear, hats and gloves, thermal underwear, sunglasses, dust masks, sunscreen and insect repellent could be needed.

Aca,!Ac Blankets or a sleeping bag for each person

Aca,!Ac Sanitation and hygiene items - toiletries, contact lenses, toilet paper, towelettes, hand sanitizer, liquid detergent, plastic garbage bags (heavy-duty) and ties are necessary. Also have a medium-sized plastic bucket with tight lid, disinfectant and household chlorine bleach

Aca,!Ac Other essential items - paper, pencil, needles, thread, small A-B-C-type fire extinguisher, and whistle, list of important phone numbers, signal flare, masking or duct tape.

Aca,!Ac A map of the area marked with places you could go and their telephone numbers.

Aca,!Ac An extra set of keys and personal identification - including keys for cars and any properties owned; copies of driver's licenses, passports and work identification badges

Aca,!Ac Cash and credit cards

Aca,!Ac Matches in a waterproof container

Aca,!Ac A small tent, compass and shovel

Once you have a kit, it's time to develop your Family emergency plan.

You should practice it at least twice a year.

Afterwards, discuss the actions you took and how the plan would change in differing scenarios.

Identify the hazards or emergencies that are common and what the early warning systems are for each one.

Familiarize yourself with the area so you will know where to go and if you and your Family will need help or need to evacuate.

Get to know the emergency plan at your workplace as well as that of the school or activities your children attend.

Remember emergencies can occur at any time and your Family might not be together.

Decide ahead of time what you will do to get in contact with one another, as well as how and where you will meet up.

Be prepared, have a kit, a Family plan and always stay informed.