Nobody wants these emergencies to happen. However, it’s always best to be prepared especially since these events happen when we least expect them to. Here are a few helpful tips for preparing your home and your family for natural calamities and other emergency situations.
Have a “Go Bag” Ready
Most people know this as an emergency preparedness kit or a survival kit, which contains supplies that you may need during emergencies, whether or not you need to evacuate. Below is a list of basics you should include in your go-bag (which should ideally be waterproof):
- Water (one gallon per person, per day; 3 days supply for evacuation, 1 to 2 weeks supply for home use)
- Easy-to-prepare food (3 days supply for evacuation, 1 to 2 weeks supply for home use)
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Fully charged power banks for cell phones
- First-aid kit and basic medicines (maintenance medicines, if needed by any family member)
- Personal hygiene items
- Multi-purpose tools
- Important documents, especially IDs and contact information
- Extra cash, just in case the power goes out and the ATMs don’t work
Other items you can include in your go bag are baby supplies, pet supplies, matches or lighters, whistles, extra towels, scissors, nylon ropes, and a roll of duct tape. Go through these items every six months or so to remove and replace expired items.
Install Emergency Lighting
There are times when you don’t have to evacuate, especially if your area isn’t affected as severely. However, there are some situations when the electricity goes out, intentionally (this is done sometimes to prevent further emergencies like electrocution due to live wires in flooded areas) or otherwise. This is where emergency lighting comes in handy. Not only will these fixtures make it easier for you to move around and work, it will also save you from using your phone’s built-in flashlight more than necessary. A properly lighted home also makes the occupants feel safer.
One or two emergency lights may be enough for smaller homes, while bigger properties may need more. There are various emergency lighting solutions from RS Components, which will suit homes of various sizes. You may also want to buy a portable emergency light, just in case you need to bring it somewhere, like in the bathroom or outside the house.
Prepare an Action Plan
All of your family members should know what to do when an emergency arises to minimize panic. Assign a point-person for specific responsibilities (like carrying the survival kit or taking care of the pets), especially if an evacuation is needed. It also pays to have designated meeting places just in case someone gets separated or lost. Write down the contact details of emergency services and give each family member a copy. You should also insert this in an easily accessible area of your emergency kit. Finally, establish a communication plan with relatives just in case phone lines get clogged or disabled.
Turn Off Appliances
If you have enough time to do it, turn off and unplug all appliances, including air-conditioners and refrigerators, whether you have to evacuate or not. This will help protect your belongings from power surges when the electricity comes back. However, it’s also a good idea to leave one light on so you know when the power is restored.
Store Food Properly
Again, if you have enough time, you should organize food items at home so they will last longer and will not be contaminated. Store dry goods like rice and cereal in waterproof containers and place them in high areas so they are safe from flooding. If the power goes out, you can put as much food in the freezer, prioritizing the ones the spoil faster (like milk), then fill your freezer with as much ice as you can. You can also invest in a sturdy, thick-walled cooler to store extra ice just in case the blackout lasts for more than six hours.
Being prepared for an emergency makes a big difference, especially if rescue and emergency response teams can’t make it to your area immediately. These simple tips can lessen the damage to your property, minimize physical injuries, and even save lives.