MAYOR’S CORNER

The past two months we included articles addressing safety issues.  This month is the third in that series and, once again, we have Officer Thom Taylor to thank for making our families safe.

EMERGENCY PLANNING FOR YOUR HOME AND FAMILY

By Officer Thom Taylor

This month I am going to share some ideas for Emergency Planning for your home and family. We all live different lifestyles and certainly live at different speeds from one another. We have different beliefs, whether political or religious. What we all have in common is that we are a part of the same community. Whatever level of Emergency Planning you and your family decide to develop, at least do some research and make an educated decision.

Any planning you do now will give your family a distinct advantage over the other families who decide that Emergency Planning is not something with which they need to be concerned. Your action now and the upkeep of both your emergency plan and your emergency kit may make the difference for your family’s survival in a serious emergency. At a minimum, it will provide you assurance and some basic comforts in a lesser emergency.

In an effort to make emergency planning less stressful on your already time demanding life, share the planning. Every person in your household should be involved in your emergency planning. Decide which of the adults in the home will be in charge of planning and then assign the research and development out to the members of your home. As always, the internet is a great source for information - but take this opportunity to go out and meet your local Government Officials, Police and Fire Officials and local Emergency Management Officials. Your St. Louis County Police Department maintains its Emergency Operations Center right here in West County.

Here are some ideas:

·         Let everyone in the home find out about the emergency plans that may or may not be in place in their workplace, school or church. (Don’t forget the local grocery and shopping mall)

·         Have one member of the family go online or contact your local government and check to see what emergency plans are in place. Include finding emergency distribution sites for supplies and medicines.

·         Another family member can research local media sources to find out how they plan to broadcast during emergencies. Find out if they have back up frequencies that they can use during emergencies.

·         Someone else should research your utilities providers to see what emergency plans they have in place to keep you in service and if they have any recommendations about their service during emergencies. (i.e., shutting off gas or electric.) Include contacting your cellular phone provider to see what their emergency plans are to keep you in service.

·         A good assignment for a young family member is to plan for your family pets. They can pick out extra food bowls, leashes and bedding. They can prepare your animals a small place of their own in your family Safe Area.

·         An adult or older child should look into planning emergency evacuation routes and organize any needed supplies.

·         Take time during the information gathering time to make certain everyone has all of the resources and any assistance they need to complete their assignment.

When everyone has gathered the assigned information, plan a meeting (possibly during a family meal) to discuss all of the information. Give everyone in the family time to talk about the information they have collected. Discuss what an emergency is to your family and what the local climate, businesses and government suggest would be the most likely emergencies you could experience. Discuss and decide where your “safe area” should be located in your home. Then begin to build your family’s emergency plans around your safe area.

Include in your family budget any additional costs for improvements to your safe area and for the purchase and rotation of supplies in your emergency kit. Please don’t forget to include these items in your family emergency planning:

Out of town emergency contacts.

Any neighbors who may be elderly or who may have special needs.

Tools to shut off all of your utilities as needed.

Emergency communication (to include pre-paid phone cards and backup power sources for cellular phones and electronics.)

All of your family Pets!

There is no set method to follow when making your family’s emergency action plans. Just take some time together, do your research and decide how best to plan for the needs of your family. No matter how elaborate or how simple your emergency plans, having your family know that the emergency plan is in place will reduce some of the stress that will occur when an emergency begins to happen.

Today as I am finishing this article, my family is at home on a snow day and I am reminded how important it is to have emergency plans in place before an emergency arises. Remember the time to plan is now!

As always do not hesitate to contact me for additional information or with any questions at ttaylor@stlouisco.com