Welcome to the ultimate guide to emergency planning and preparedness!
It is my hope that the resources here will help you put together a disaster preparedness and response plan.
Emergency situations are highly unpredictable and can range from natural disasters to man-made catastrophes.
Often people take the time to prepare for a crisis situation, but not natural disasters.
The structural integrity of your home will be compromised, and it won’t be safe to stay there or even safe enough to try to salvage anything that might be left.
At this point, you and your family have no choice but to evacuate.
This is why every prepper needs to have an evacuation plan that the entire family knows and can execute in a moments notice.
This is why packing at least one, if not two, emergency evacuation bug out bags well ahead of time and placing them in several easy to access locations – such as right by your front door and in your vehicle – is so important.
Hopefully these articles will give you a few points to bear in mind when formulating your plan.
Consider The Location When Doing Your Emergency Planning
During a catastrophe of any type the roads may be impassable.
Sometimes this is because of a natural disaster.
For example the roads could be flooded making them unsafe to travel on.
Another possibility is your vehicle could get damaged while trying to evacuate.
Consider how close your shelter is.
In the event that you cannot get there, do you have family, friends or even neighbors who are nearby and could take you in?
If not, is the nearest safe shelter within walking distance or will you need a vehicle to get there?
If you need a vehicle, how will you get one?
Have you thought about the possibility that there could be a fuel shortage and made plans on how to deal with that?
These are all important things to consider and plan for even if you never need to implement them.
Make Sure Your Family Is Familiar With Your Emergency Preparedness Plan
No matter how good your emergency planning and preparedness plan is, it is only good when everyone is onboard and knows what is going on.
What if your spouse is at work?
If the kids are at a friend’s house, do they know what to do?
Will everyone meet at home and evacuate, or will they meet you at a secondary location such as a family survival camp?
During a crisis, there is not a lot of time to think and people often panic making it even harder to make rational decisions, especially if it is a man-made catastrophe such as an active shooter situation.
Contacting your family members may not be possible if they don’t have access to a phone.
Don’t count on cell phones because the grid could be down or there could be so many people trying to use the phone lines that you can’t get through.
Any of these scenarios could happen, and they usually do, especially during natural disasters.
So, make a plan, get prepared and go over the plan with every member of your family.
You might even consider having fake drills so everyone has a chance to practice the plan before an actual emergency comes up.
Make Sure Your Emergency Preparedness Plan Is Very Detailed
Ensure that all family members from infants to adults have a laminated card with a list of all their family members and their contact information.
For infants and young children it is a good idea to secure this laminated card to their clothing using safety pins or some other method so if they are separated from you, someone else can find the information and know who to contact.
Include emergency phone numbers such as the hospital, doctors office and police stations.
You might even include the poison control center just in case someone is accidentally poisoned while trying to evacuate.
Best of all, if anyone is alone and injured, first responders will know how to reach the next of kin.
Including information about allergies or medications on this card is a good idea so the first responders have that information before they begin treatment.
If there is panic and everyone is scrambling for their lives, as would happen in a tsunami or other type of natural disaster, you may lose sight of a family member or two because of how chaotic the situation is.
By taking the time before hand to make sure every member of your family has this information easily accessible, there is a much higher chance of finding them sooner.
This means you can get to a safe place as a family sooner instead of later.
Communication Is Important When Executing An Emergency Preparedness Plan
During a crisis there must be a plan of communication.
As mentioned above, if everyone is calling the same person for information, calls may not go through or be delayed.
One way to do it if you have children, will be for one child to call the mother while another child calls the father.
If calls don’t work, ask them to try texting.
It is a good idea to make up codes before an emergency situation occurs that everyone remembers, or at least has a list of, so that you do not have to send long texts to get your message across.
Of course, phones are not the only way to communicate.
Consider walkie-talkies, CB radios, email if the grid is up and you can access a computer or simply putting a post on social media and setting it to friends only so the world does not know you have evacuated your home.
Don’t Forget To Pack The Emergency Evacuation Kits
Include Your Pets In Your Emergency Planning And Preparedness Plan
If you have pets, you will need to evacuate them too in the event that you must leave your home.
While you can’t move an aquarium, you can save your cat, dog, hamster or rabbit.
Larger animals such as livestock are also harder to move, but not impossible to move to safety.
Pack an emergency evacuation bag for your pets.
You will need food supplies for them and a portable carrier to transport the pet.
Be aware that evacuation shelters may not allow pets and if they do they will request their shot records, so pack a copy of those in their bug out bag .
This is why it is a good idea to bring a tent or small shelter for them so they stay warm and dry, that way if you must leave them outside, they will have shelter.
It is important for you to check on them at regular intervals and take them for a walk so they can get some exercise and relieve themselves.
Be sure to follow these tips when creating your emergency preparedness plan.
It is imperative that you have a good plan in place long before you need it and a good support network to help you implement the plan if you need to.
Get to know the people around your neighborhood and know who you can and cannot count on in an emergency situation.
Below are links to very specific situations that require emergency planning ahead of time and a very well thought out preparedness plan.
There is also some good information to help you make an emergency readiness plan for your entire family.