EMSWorld now offers Community Health Watch articles for use by your EMS agency. These short, pre-written, easy to use articles are intended to be educational for your local community members on a wide range of public safety and health issues, and may be branded for your use. Your organization is free to use this as a community column in your local newspaper, a letter to the editor, a press release or in any other way you see fit. Either copy the text below or download the attached Word document.
Be at Your Best by Preparing For the Worst
Disaster often strikes without warning. Preparing for an emergency before one happens can’t protect you from bad things happening, but it can make all the difference in your survival once they do.
September is National Preparedness Month, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has partnered with The Advertising Council to provide communities across the U.S. with resources to prepare for a variety of emergencies, be they natural or man-made.
Ready.gov offers information on what to do before, during and after an emergency, as well as how to plan for emergencies and build an emergency kit.
One of the simplest things you can do to prepare for an emergency is to assemble a basic kit, or preferably more than one so you can store kits at home, work and in vehicles. Kits should be stored in a secure, accessible location, and every family member should know where to find them.
Basic recommended items for an emergency kit include:
- Water—one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
- Food—at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- First aid kit.
- Whistle to signal for help.
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
- Manual can opener for food.
- Local maps.
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger.
Your disaster kit needs to fit the unique needs of your family, so this is by no means an all-inclusive list, but just recommendations for where to start. Additional items could include prescription medications and glasses, supplies for an infant or pet, traveler’s checks or cash, a first aid kit, sleeping bags or blankets, or more.
You’ll also want to have a family discussion about what to do and where to go if you’re separated. Children should know the names and phone numbers of their parents or guardians as soon as they’re old enough to memorize that information, as well as the location of nearby relatives or family friends where they can seek help.
You may not be able to account for every contingency when you create your own family disaster plan, but by preparing today you can ensure you’ll be at your best if and when an emergency does occur.