As I write my first blog for 2013, I find myself sitting in front of my computer, not quite knowing what to write about. The events of Newtown have me paralyzed still! I am supposed to write to you all about keeping your family safe.... in the event of an emergency.... and I find it almost an impossible task with the events that have taken place. And then I realize...this is an opportunity! An opportunity to have compassion for the families that have had loss and an opportunity for all of us. This is our kick in the tush!
It is time to really ask ourselves... What if ...? What if there was an earthquake or other natural disaster... or even worse. After all, what is more important than the safety of our family? Nothing! So I ask you all... Do you have a plan?
When making a plan, my rule is KISS. Keep It Simple and Specific!
Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen in your community. Discuss what to do in each case, i.e., earthquake, fire, and severe weather. Play some things out in your head. If you ever did have to put a plan into action, remember that it made sense when you made the plan! Stick to it!
If you can stay in your home, or get to your home, that is the safest and best place to be. However, if you need to leave your home, choosing a meeting place is important. Choose one that makes the most sense to everyone. A park, a school, a large open area. When choosing this place be extremely specific, i.e. the picnic table next to the swing set. Remember you and your family will not be the only people at this chosen destination, therefore getting very specific is important so you are not walking all over the place trying to find each other.
It is important to include your entire family, including any caregivers for your children. Make sure that you plan on sharing responsibilities and work together as a team. This is especially important for kids because it empowers them rather than scares them. A plan is so important because if there is a situation where you do need to leave your home, everyone can remain calm because everyone knows his or her job!
Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes. Spouses might be at work, or even traveling out of town. Make sure your plan includes how you will contact one another. Cell phones might not be working so it is extremely important to have an Out of State contact who knows your plan. It is possible that cell phones will work for calling out of state rather than in state. Experts all agree that we don't know what form of communication will work. With technology changing we have a variety of things to try including text, email, IM...
Familiarize yourself with the emergency plan of your child's school. If you don't know it, ASK! You might also want to choose a parent that your child feels comfortable with to go home with in the event that you cannot get to school right away. Most schools have an emergency contact number in the event of a situation. Make sure you have that number in your phone.
I know putting a plan together might seem overwhelming..... but don't make it that way. Talk it out, go over a few different scenarios, and decide what makes the most sense.... and remember the most important thing... KISS.... Keep it Simple and Specific!
Please feel free to email me directly at Cari@EmergencyCafe.com with any questions you might have!