Are you prepared for a worst-case scenario? Disaster can strike without a moment’s notice, making it crucial to have a contingency plan in place so that you and your loved ones can evacuate safely and survive until help arrives. This 25-point emergency preparedness checklist is the ultimate guide to fast action in an unexpected circumstance.
The first few boxes to tick off your checklist are all about gathering information. Start by calling your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter to find out which types of disasters could occur in your area.
Some locations might be more prone to flooding while others are susceptible to hurricanes, for instance.
Ask them how you can best prepare for each type of possible disaster, as well as how you would be warned in the event of an emergency. Learn and write down any community evacuation routes, then ask if there are special assistance plans in place for the elderly or disabled.
During this information gathering stage, you should also ask your place of employment what emergency plans they have in place, as well as any plans that schools or daycares might make if you have children. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to fully understand what should occur in the event of a worst-case scenario.
Creating Your Plan
Next, you will need to meet with the members of your household to discuss the dangers of house fires, earthquakes, or any emergency scenarios that may arise. Explain how members of your family should respond to each individual emergency.
Designate safe spots in your home for each type of disaster, what to do in the event of an injury, and how to deal with power outages. For instance, where will you keep flashlights or candles? It helps to draw a floor plan of your home, making sure to mark at least two escape routes from each room.
Show each member of your family how to turn off gas lines, electricity, water, and anything else that may be necessary to particular disasters. From there, create lists of emergency telephone numbers and place them next to each phone in your home.
If you have children, teach them how to dial and speak with emergency responders from the police to the fire department. It is also a good idea to instruct your family to turn on the radio, tuning into the proper station, in order for them to hear the latest information regarding the emergency.
You should also designate an out of state or local friend of the family to call in the event that someone becomes separated.
Keep in mind that out of state numbers are often easier to reach during a disaster. Make sure to designate two emergency meeting places in the event that your family becomes separated as well. The first place should be near your home in the event of a fire, and the second should be outside of your neighborhood.
Finally, you should register yourself for basic CPR classes and keep vital family records in a water-proof, fire-proof safe. Learning CPR can help you save someone’s life, while safely storing any records avoids a major headache after the disaster is over.
Make A Kit
Now that you and your family have a clearly defined plan, it is important to assemble the supplies you might need in the event of an evacuation. Keep these supplies stores in an easy to carry container like a backpack.
The first, and perhaps most essential, item on your list should be a steady supply of water. Estimate at least one gallon of water per person for each day. Make sure to keep it in sealed, unbreakable containers, and replace your supply every six months.
Second, you’ll need to gather a supply of non-perishable food. Packaged and canned goods are excellent choices, which allow for plenty of fruits and vegetables for the energy you’ll need in an emergency. Also, don’t forget the can opener!
Each person’s backpack or bag should contain at least one change of clothing along with rain gear. Skip the umbrellas and pack some ponchos to help you save space. Also, pack an extra pair of shoes. There’s nothing worse than walking around with wet feet, and that situation can lead to various forms of illness.
Every kit should include a sleeping bag or a few blankets to help you stay warm at night, and a first aid kit to keep your prepared for any injuries on the road. Include any prescription medications in your first aid kit, as well as an additional antiseptic ointment.
There’s a little paperwork to bring along with you as well.
You should keep a list of family physicians and any other important medical information. This will allow first responders to better assist you once help arrives or your reach a designated shelter.
If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair in case yours break. Accordingly, don’t forget your cash or credit cards, an extra set of car keys, and any other items your family may require during this time.
Finally, make sure to include a battery powered radio to keep you informed on what is going on. And also a flashlight in the event that the disaster strikes at night, and plenty of extra batteries to keep the two running.
The Checklist 1-13
To help you prepare for a time of crisis. It is easier to see all of this information numbered and in order.
Here is the 25-point emergency preparedness checklist.
1.Call your local emergency office
- Which disasters could occur in your area?
- How can you prepare for each?
- How will they warn you of an emergency?
- Does your community have any evacuation routes?
- Does your community provide special assistance for those who need it?
2. Ask your workplace about any contingency plans
3. Ask your children’s school/daycare about contingency plans
4. Discuss how family members will respond to emergencies
5. Designate the safest spots in your home
6. Discuss how to deal with power outages and injuries
7. Draw a floor plan of your home with escape routes
8. Show family members how to turn off utilities
9. Post emergency numbers near your phones
10. Teach children how to call emergency responders
11. Instruct everyone to turn on the radio for information
12. Pick an out of state and local contact
13. Pick two emergency meeting places
- One near your home
- One outside of your community
The Checklist 14-25
14. Take CPR and first aid courses
15. Keep vital family records in a fire-proof, water-proof container
16. Gather a supply of water
17. Gather a supply of non-perishable foods, and a can opener
18. Pack a change of clothes, ponchos, and shoes
19. Pack blankets or a sleeping bag for each person
20. Fill up a first aid kit, including prescriptions
21. Include a battery-powered radio and flashlight, plus batteries
22.Keep a list of family physicians and medical information
23. Pack extra cash, and bring your credit cards
24. Include glasses and any other necessary items
25. Include an extra set of car and home keys
Going the Extra Mile
By following the 25 steps above, you and your family will be as prepared as possible during an emergency.
Additionally, if you want to take things one step further. Then you might want to include an emergency car kit as well as keep a few additional pieces of information in mind.
Not every shelter allows pets, making it important to decide on arrangements for any animals in your home.
Accordingly, some animal shelters assist in housing pets during times of crisis. So call around to find out what your options are.
You may want to know where emergency shelters for you and your family are in advance. This will also allow you to mark the appropriate travel routes on a map. Also, don’t rely on GPS, as a natural disaster or severe storm can make tracking your location near impossible.
Lastly, don’t forget to lock your house before you leave!
The Car Kit
There are a few items you may want to keep in your car to better prepare for a disaster.
Additionally, extra blankets, batteries, booster cables and fire extinguishers are a great start. You might want to keep an extra first aid kit inside of your glovebox, and possibly a few maps or flares. It also doesn’t hurt to keep a shovel in your trunk. In case your car becomes stuck in mud or debris.
Finally, disaster can strike at any moment, but you and your family can stay on top of worst case scenarios with an emergency preparedness checklist.
Furthermore, the steps and advice in this article are here to help you be prepared for any situation to the fullest of your abilities. Make sure to carefully re-read each step, and don’t wait too long to get your contingency plan in place.
There’s nothing worse than being unprepared for an emergency situation.