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Prepare For Emergency

While it isn’t something that any of us want to think will happen, emergencies and natural disasters occur, and we need to be prepared – just in case.  If you’ve created a defensible space around your home; braced water heaters; installed safety glass – or safety film – on the windows; secured tall or heavy pieces of furniture to the walls; and know where the shutoff valves are for your utilities, you’ve made a great start; but, if you haven’t created a plan for your family you aren’t quite finished.

What would you do if a fire, earthquake, or other disaster made it necessary for you to leave your home for a safer location?  It is important to have a family plan that includes exits from your home (in case of fire); meeting places (both in your neighborhood and outside of your neighborhood); and phone numbers of family members, neighbors, and a key person that all family members can contact in an emergency.

Preparedness experts also recommend having a checklist and/or kit ready to go in an emergency.  Some items are similar for most families and include:

  • List of phone numbers, including your key contact person.
  • Important documents and financial records.
  • Cash.
  • Medications or special items necessary for members of your family.
  • Extra eyeglasses.
  • Basic personal hygiene items.
  • A change of clothing for each member of the family.
  • Flashlights.
  • Cell phone charger.
  • Pet leash/crate and pet food.

Beyond that, it becomes a matter of what is irreplaceable to you.  Make this a family affair and encourage your kids to make their own lists of what is essential to them.  This list will be different for everyone, but may include:

  • Computers.
  • Passports.
  • Family photos.
  • Favorite recipes.
And in your kids' eyes:
  • Stuffed animals.
  • Special blankets.
  • Favorite toys.
  • Handheld electronic games.

For more information on how to prepare you family for an emergency, there are a few good sites on the Internet that include apps you can download.  To get you started, visit Ready.gov, the American Red Cross, and Totally Unprepared.

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