For most, we hold the assumption that it's a matter of time before an emergency of some sort will strike our community. I don't mean to sound doomsday. But, it's naive to believe that a natural disaster (fire, flood, earthquake, tsunami, lahar, tornado, or hurricane) or other type emergency won't impact your family at some point in your life.
Self-sufficiency and preparedness feel good during calm times. They can be life-saving in an emergency.
Here's how to prepare your family:
1. Set a meet-up. In the event that it's not safe to stay in your current location, have a plan with your immediate family (and inner circle of friends) and share this form. Agree on a spot to meet, like a landmark or park. (Source: SF72.org, emergency plan from CA State)
2. Build a basic supplies kit. At a minimum, your family should have (Source: ready.gov):
- Water - one gallon per person per day, for drinking and sanitation for at least three days.
- Food - supply of non-perishable food for each person for at least three days.
- Battery-powered radio - with extra batteries. Consider purchasing an emergency radio that can be charged by sunlight and can charge your cell phone, like this one.
- Flashlight - with extra batteries.
- First Aid Kit
- Whistle - to signal for help.
- Filter Mask - for air pollution.
- Moist Towelettes - for sanitation.
- Wrench or Pliers - to turn off utilities.
- Manual Can Opener - if emergency kit contains canned food.
- Plastic Sheeting and Duct Tape - to shelter in place.
- Garbage Bags and Plastic Ties - for personal sanitation.
- Unique Family Needs - such as prescription medication, infant formula, diapers, and important family documents.
3. Educate yourself on your community. Before an emergency strikes, find out who the local authority is on disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, lists state-by-state resources.
4. Train yourself (Source: nrdc.org):
- Take a CPR and First Aid Certification Course (see directory at ifrc.org).
- Citizen Corps offer Emergency Response Team classes.
- Read Arthur T. Bradley's book, Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family.
5. Settle Personal Details - before an emergency.
- Assess your home insurance policy's coverage of natural disasters known to strike your area.
- Be sure your will is up-to-date. If you need a will, Willing is a great place to start.
- Life insurance is important. Make sure you have appropriate coverage. Insurance Happens can help you.
Finally, if you would like to incorporate emergency preparedness into your homeschool curriculum, check out the free resources provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Youth Preparedness Program.