These days we can’t help but be concerned about the possibility of an emergency — whether a winter storm, natural disaster, public health emergency, or act of terrorism. If something were to happen, would you be prepared? An emergency can occur at any time, and taking steps to plan and prepare beforehand means you’re ready to cope for what’s ahead.
Planning for a disaster or an emergency means knowing what to do in each possible situation, especially if you don’t have much time to act. Learn how to protect yourself and your family with this step-by-step preparedness plan. Be sure to discuss your plan with your family and post it in a visible place for everyone to see.
Create an Emergency Support Network
You don’t want to go through an emergency alone. Ask at least two people to be in your support network — family members, friends, neighbors, caregivers, coworkers, or members of community groups. Be sure to include an out-of-town contact (a friend or relative) whom family members can call to let them know they are safe. If phone lines are busy or jammed, the out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separate family members and those in your network.
Everyone in your emergency support network should:
- Stay in contact with you during an emergency.
- Keep a spare set of your house and car keys.
- Know where to find your emergency supplies.
- Know how to operate your emergency equipment or help you move in an emergency.
Everyone should keep the contact information for each person in the network saved in their cell phone or write it down on a card that is kept in their wallet. Be sure contact information is complete — include numbers for work, home, school, and cell phones.