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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Another take on the proverbial survival kit

By Joseph Parish

Americans are quickly becoming aware of the value placed in home emergency management. As with any type of management program a family emergency plan is a critical aspect of the overall program.

Let’s be real here. At any moment either a natural or manmade emergency condition can occur. Developing your own disaster plan could be the life and death difference for your family. No longer are emergency plans of this nature restricted to government agencies. As I always say, “we must learn to take care of ourselves”. We simply can not rely upon any government agency or organization for our welfare. We must take the necessary responsibility for accumulating our own emergency supplies and the knowledge of what to do in an emergency.

Of prime importance, is knowing the possible emergencies can happen in your neck of the woods. We are a complex society and as such we open up many possible scenarios that can result in either manmade or natural calamities. These days we are experiencing very sever weather conditions which we have never experienced in the past. The weather has become completely unpredictable and extremely dangerous. To be properly prepared we must become aware of all the possible natural disasters that exist around our area.

Don’t be mislead into thinking that the sever weather problems are the only concern for at any time a manufacturing plant can release fatal fumes or create explosive atmospheres that may cause us to consider evacuation of our homes. Nor can we underestimate the destructive nature of the hurricanes that seasonally pound our coastal shores. What about an extended black out that may occur across your area of the country? Any of these quoted emergencies are possible at just about any area of our country.

The family that is properly prepared for any sort of emergency will generally have several emergency plans in the works. One for those times when you have to remain at your home and another in the event that you must depart your home and evacuate the area.

It isn’t just the idea of having an emergency plan but you must also have one that is comprehensive in nature and well thought out. The purpose of a family emergency plan is to assist in saving our lives and curtail panic during those times of crisis. As we have stated every household should have two such plans and here are a few items to consider when developing your individual plan.

  1. Consider how your family can safely exist your home and neighborhood.
  2. Designate a family meeting point where you all can assemble when a disaster happens.
  3. In the event that you must pick up your children you should have a designated person to do that task.
  4. Have related health information readily available for all members of your family.
  5. You may wish to have one of the older land line phones available that did not need electricity.
  6. Determine the potential risks that are within your immediate area.
  7. If you are a pet owner you must give serious thought to what you will do with your pet if you have to evacuate the area.
  8. Make certain that every member of the family knows the locations of your home fire extinguisher, the water shut-off valve and the electrical box.

Your next step should be to preparing a “Bug out Kit”. You should always have sufficient supplies of food and water to last your family for at least seventy-two hours. Keep in mind that the larger the supply the better you would be. Once again if you are a pet owner keep a supply of pet food readily available as well.

During most emergencies you can expect to lose your electricity so you should consider keeping the following supplies close at hand.

  1. Older non electric land line telephone.
  2. Manual type of can opener.
  3. An extra propane tank that can be used on your barbecue grill.
  4. Portable flashlights and battery operated radios.
  5. A well supplied first-aid kit.
  6. Any prescription medications necessary for family members.
  7. A set of extra keys for the car and home.
  8. Several bottles of hand sanitizer.
  9. About two to three hundred dollars in cash. It should be in small bills. Several rolls of coins can be very helpful.
  10. Any special items such as baby supplies or special equipment for those with disabilities.
  11. Always fill your bathtub with water when notified of an emergency. Keep a bucket handy to use for flushing the toilet. Remember no electricity no water in the toilet bowl.

All members of your family should have their own “Bug out Bag” in the event you must evacuate the area. Don’t be caught with only the clothes that you are wearing. Always include not only your fresh clothing but also some hand sanitizer, a few snacks, a water container and things to occupy your time like a book or something.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish

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