TroubleshootWhen thinking about family emergency planning, the first thing to do is figure out what dangers are possible in your area. Fires and power outage are universal, and should each have a plan. Do you also live in an area common to tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, or volcanoes? If so, you may want to work on plans for each of these as well. Have your kids help you to point out the possible emergencies, so they are aware of what they may be.
PracticeOnce your plans are made, be certain to do drills of each. If you have fire ladders on upper windows, get them out of the box and be sure everyone can use them. Time people and offer rewards for the fastest escape. The best-run emergencies are those where people react on instinct. Drills create the muscle memory to act without thinking.
ShopPrepare an emergency kit to keep you fed and hydrated for a number of days. It should have food and water for all of you, and an alternate cooking source like a camp stove to help make sure you can sterilize water and cook food. The amount of time your kit runs for is up to you; depending on the level of planning, people usually keep storage from between three days to three months. Seven days is usually more than sufficient for most emergencies, however. The other important part of this kit is to go through it at least once a year and replace anything expired. Food, flares, batteries, and first aid items can all go bad.
Plan a MeetupAnother thing to consider in emergency planning is what to do if disaster strikes when you are apart. If the kids are at school or practice, and you are at work or home, then how do you get to them? If you are within walking distance, this is easy. But if an earthquake strikes and you are further apart, consider giving them an alternate person to go to who is closer by and who knows that they are your children's emergency backup people. This means you can head to them and know they are safe.
Take a ClassWhether you want more info on disaster preparedness, or you want your kids to also be first aid and CPR certified, a family class makes a lot of sense when it comes to safety planning. Even if their role is most likely to call 911, a child who is prepared if a parent has a medical accident will be much more likely to respond quickly and maturely, which can mean the difference between life and death. There will be cases where they can do more than this, such as helping to stabilize a broken limb, or other problem while waiting for help. By taking these classes as a family, you open discussion to the roles you play, and the times when those roles can shift.
Revise as Your Kids GrowEarly on, your kids will likely follow and you will lead. However, you will find that your kids are much more engaged in safety lessons if you give them leading roles. Allow them to run drills and give you goals at times. Let them suggest changes or take on leadership roles. Give them real responsibilities in your emergency scenarios. This will give them confidence, and keep them paying attention so that if a real disaster strikes, they are as prepared as can be.
Your family’s safety is your number one priority. To keep them safe, make sure you are ready for any kind of disaster. Use these tips and other methods like installing a NorthStar Home Security system for the best results of keeping everyone happy and healthy.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer, recent graduate from the University of New Mexico, and avid runner. She loves to blog about fitness, health, home and family. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.