Since September is National Preparedness Month, this is a great time to stop and make sure that you and your loved ones are prepared for the surprise of a natural disaster as well as the unwanted shock of a Family Crisis where a family member is the victim of a serious injury or accident.
What can you do now to make things better in the event of a Bad Thing Happening? Here are some tips (hat tip to FEMA and the Indiana Governor’s Office, among others):
1. Have a Family Plan in Place That Everyone Knows to Follow
If there is a disaster (say a big winter storm or a tornado here in Indiana or Illinois) or if a family member is hurt in an accident (like a car crash or on the job work accident), then all the family members need to have a plan in place on what to do. These things usually don’t happen when all the family is together in one spot.
Have a family meeting and discuss things like:
- Who will be the Family Communicator (the hub of your messages – the family contact);
- How you will get together as a Family and where you will go (meeting place, alternative routes, alternate ways to get there);
- What emergency plans are in place at work or school (for instance, will there be hurdles to get the kids out of school – who has authorization to pick the children up? What are the school’s disaster plans?);
- Tag teams — which parent gets the kids, who picks up the pets.
2. Have a Family Emergency Kit
For natural disasters, having emergency supplies ready at home is important. These are things to keep at home as well as packed and ready to take with you in case you have to evacuate. Emergency kits need to have things like food and water for 72 hours as well as things like batteries, changes of clothes, flashlights, toilet paper, tools, and more.
For family emergencies where someone has been hurt or injured, the family emergency kit may need things like cash savings to cover monthly bills and unexpected expenses in case a breadwinner is unable to work for awhile; contingency phone numbers for people who can help with child care (picking the kids up from school, etc.); phone numbers for doctors, hospitals, EMS, etc.; insurance policy information; pet kennel info; etc.
For more ideas on what to include in your Family Emergency Kit for Natural Disasters or Family Crisis, check out the itemized list of things you might want to include for your family in the long list prepared by FEMA.