Today I’m honored to be hosting Virginia Morgan White who is here to share her expertise on disaster preparedness! Nobody thinks that they’ll ever be put in a position to actually need to know this stuff, but really there is nothing worse than being completely unprepared in the face of disaster whether it be fire, flood, dangerous weather, or a scary accident. Read on to find out how you can stay calm and be ready for anything!
You Can Do It!
I know it can be hard to take that first step toward making your household better prepared to make it through a disaster. As a procrastinator, I know it’s really easy to not think about being prepared, especially if you’ve never experienced a disaster. But I’ve also discovered it’s not so hard to be prepared if I take it one little step or task at a time. It’s also fun to get others in the house involved.
Here are a few things to do to get ready for disaster:
- You may already have the beginning of your plan. Do you have a list of emergency contacts and their telephone numbers for the baby sitter? I bet you do, and on that list you probably have your children’s pediatrician, day care, and drug store numbers. My mom always put the list on the refrigerator. For the list you keep on your phone and computer or on a secure cloud location, add other important numbers such as your insurance agent, an out of state family member or friend who is willing to act as your “home base contact” if something happens to you and your family. Keep handy a paper copy of the telephone list in case you can’t get to the digital files.
- Create an emergency contact card for each child in your household. Here’s a fillable form. The card can be printed out, folded and put in a wallet or backpack for easy access.
- Ready.gov has a template for a family emergency plan. Keep a printed copy of the plan in your emergency supply kit or another safe and easily accessible location.
Putting Together a Disaster Supply Kit
What goes in a disaster supply kit? You probably already have most of the items. Your basic supply kit should include
- a supply of water and non-perishable food
- first aid kit
- whistle (you may need to signal for help)
- manual can opener
- flashlight and extra batteries
- moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties
- local maps
- extra cash
- cell phone charger; and
- a battery-operated radio.
Keep medications for family members handy so you can quickly add them to the kit if you need to evacuate. If you have babies in the house, you will need formula, diapers, bottles, and powdered milk. Do you have pets? Add pet food and water to the kit.
Get the Kids Involved!
What can the kids do? They can practice saying—or writing—their names, your name, and your phone number. The Sesame Street Let’s Get Ready! website has more activities for the kids as well as a special magazine for you and other caregivers listing ideas and activities you can do with your kids to help them be prepared. Sparky the Firedog also has fun activities for young children. If your friends have children that are school-aged, they may like the Fun + Games waiting for them at Ready.gov.
What are you going to do to be prepared for disaster?
(For additional guidance on being prepared for specific disasters such as fire, a child being injured or poisoned, power outages, sickness, or natural disasters, I highly recommend checking out the Disaster Safety Library at RedCross.Org!)
About Virginia Morgan White:
I’ve been a communicator with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System for about 20 years and associated with the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) for nearly 10 years. Cooperative Extension is part of every state’s land-grant university system. Extension educators in counties or parishes offer research-based informal education and information to local communities and individuals. EDEN is a collaborative, multistate effort by Cooperative Extension across the country to improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters.
When individuals, families, and communities suffer from a disaster, EDEN has resources to help mend personal loss, rebuild farms, and help communities recover and rebuild homes, businesses and lives. For example, in 2012 Extension educators helped communities recover from tornadoes and floods by providing practical information on topics such as recovering important papers, financial recovery, how to document insurance claims, flood cleanup, food safety, cleaning debris out of pastures and hay fields, and hiring contractors to rebuild or repair damage. Use the State Information box on EDEN to find your state’s EDEN delegate.
Thank you for sharing, Virginia! This definitely has helped me see that making a disaster prep kit is easy. :) When I have put one together and talked to the kids I’ll be sure to share it in a post!