First, however, I recommend that you read the article where I discussed having an “Emergency File.” Having all your important documents and information in one place can be a timesaver and one resource for most of your information needs.
Emergency Plan - Preparation and Practice
I found that even though we were somewhat prepared, when the time came and we started scrambling, we did not think of everything. Even though we had about thirty minutes, that is very little time when it comes to thinking about what needs to be done ‘just in case’ your house becomes a victim of Mother Nature.
1. Loss of Services
Over 119,000 homes were without power for almost two days. Approximately 50,000 homes are still without power today. It could be another week before everyone’s power is restored. The entire city is also without drinkable water. Roads are closed and people are prohibited from entering and occasionally from leaving these areas.
We thought that a couple of gallons of water would be enough for most situations, now we realize that we need that much per person per day.
- Without electricity, what happens to your cell phones and more importantly, your wheelchair or scooter (if you have one). They both need charging.
- How do you get in touch with family and friends as well as emergency services if your phone runs out of juice?
- Flashlights and batteries are also needed. Do you have enough to last several days and possibly up to a week?
- If you plan ahead and buy a backup emergency generator, can your wife or you hook it up safely when needed?
- You cannot cook or microwave and your refrigerated/frozen foods do not last long.
- Do you have enough ice chests?
- Do you have food that does not require cooking?
- Do you have enough pet food to take care of your critters?
2. Evacuation Plan and Backup Plan
- Should you stay or leave? When we heard the news of the impending tornado strike, we did not even consider leaving. With 190 mph winds, we should have been packing up and leaving for someplace safe.
- Where should should go? Do you have family or friends in the area?
- What happens if the primary routes are blocked?
- What do you need to take with you? For example: important documents (wills, financial information, etc.), emergency papers, contact information, the computer, medications, pet food and supplies, tallette, etc.
- Do you have a list of important contacts with their telephone numbers in case you have to evacuate?
- Where is the nearest evacuation center or shelter?
- If you are handicapped, what else do you need to take to ease the transition to temporary housing (hotel, shelter, family or friend’s house, etc.)?
- What if medical services cannot reach you?
- Do you have a fully stocked first aid kit?
- Do you have a supply of prescription medications that will last for up to a week?
- At least annually, conduct a fire drill, a tornado (or hurricane) drill and an evacuation drill. It is important to have everyone in the family participate.
- Do you have a checklist of what to take with you or what to protect (carry into the basement or interior closet, for example)? Everyone should have their own checklist and responsibilities.
- How long does it take to fully prepare for the emergency or evacuation? This will give you a needed minimum timeline to work from.
- After conducting the drill, sit down with the family and review what went well and what needs to be improved or changed.
I could go on, but this is just meant to get you thinking of what needs to be done to fully prepare for an emergency. What am I forgetting?
Don’t assume anything!