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
of town emergency contacts.
neighbors who may be elderly or who may have special needs.
to shut off all of your utilities as needed.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org