September has been designated National Preparedness Month by the American Red Cross. During this month, households across the country are encouraged to develop emergency plans in the event of a home fire or natural disaster (such as a flood, hurricane, earthquake, tornado, or thunderstorm). Below are some tips to get you started on your Family Emergency Plan.
- When developing a home evacuation plan, walk through your home as a family. Identify all exits and possible escape routes, including windows.
- Families should decide on an outside meeting place. The plan should include ways to contact one another and include two places to meet – one near the home (in case of a sudden emergency like a fire), and one outside the neighborhood. The plan should also identify an emergency contact person from outside the area in case local telephone lines are overloaded or out of service.
- Remember to include family pets in the plan (identify pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters in case the area needs to be evacuated).
- All households should practice their plan at least twice a year so that all family members are familiar with it.
Another tip from the American Red Cross is to make sure that all home smoke alarms are working properly. If they are not working, the batteries probably need to be replaced.
For more information on how to prepare for all types of emergencies, please visit the “Getting Prepared” Information on the Red Cross Website.
Additional information on Emergency Preparedness is available through the Bellevue University Library.
Cobb, J., & Finney, C. (2014). Urban Emergency Survival Plan. Readiness Strategies for the City and Suburbs. Iola, WI. Living Ready.
Joffe, H., Perez-Fuentes, G., Potts, H., & Rossetto, T. (2016). How to Increase Earthquake and Home Fire Preparedness: The Fix-it Intervention. Natural Hazards. Vol. 84(3), pgs. 1943-1965.
Source: The American Red Cross. It’s National Preparedness Month – Make Your Emergency Plan.