You may wonder why family disaster preparedness is important, especially if you don’t live in a hurricane- or tornado-prone area. While there are many reasons, three stand out from the rest.
First, your family might not be together at the time of a disaster, or you may become separated during the crisis. It is important that you’ve identified a safe place and how to get there before an emergency occurs, along with how you will communicate with one another and how the family will reassemble. Since a crisis might disrupt local phone service, having a designated contact outside the immediate area, such as a relative or answering service, helps ensure that you can get messages to one another.
Second, you may not have time to decide where to go or what to do when the disaster strikes. This can cost precious time, which could be life-threatening. Having and rehearsing a family plan for the most likely emergencies for your area means that everyone can respond quickly and efficiently to reach safety. It also means that you know your evacuation route, should it be needed, so you don’t head off randomly and end up stranded. You also know what you will do for family pets, what utilities you need to turn off for safety, such as natural gas, and you know what you need to take with you and where to locate it quickly – things like medications and important papers.
Third, it is easier to cope with an emergency when you know what to expect, especially for children. By planning ahead of time what you will do for a tornado, hurricane, blizzard, fire or other disaster, you have that sense of security that comes from knowing what to do next. You can’t control when disaster strikes, but you can know what to expect once it does when you have a well-designed plan.
Having a plan, so that everyone knows what to do, means that you and your children will feel safer and more secure during the aftermath of an emergency.