Monday, May 21, 2012

Emergency Preparedness & Awareness

We had several rounds of storms last week and to be on the safe side I unplugged my computer every night, along with other electronics.  The kids couldn't stand it because that meant no satellite tv, but it gave us a chance to review our emergency preparedness plans which I will share with you here.

There are a multitude of websites out there to help you fully prepare for inclement weather and other disasters, which I will link up to on this blog, but I am going to give you a quick rundown of what we do.  Now remember this is just what works for us to give you a guide on where to begin.

I had a talk with my daughter a long time ago about what we do if there are tornado warnings out.  She is very inquisitive and took everything in so well that the first time we had to act on it, she never panicked.  I remember going in to her room in the middle of the night carrying a flashlight and saying:
"Carson, I need you to get up and put your shoes on.  There is a tornado warning and we're going to MeMaw's."
She got straight up, slipped on her shoes and grabbed a blanket and stuffed animal, never saying a word.  That's not to say she wasn't scared, but she knew exactly what had to be done before any fear could sink in.

You see we lived in a single wide mobile home for 9 years before we moved.  We are now in a home that was originally a double wide, but has been set up just like a house.  However, my mother in law has a full basement and lives next door, so we always go to her house if a Tornado warning goes out.  Growing up I lived in a house with a full basement, and in a town that was once called "Tornado Alley".  So for my family and myself, the basement has always been first choice.  If you live in a mobile home, check with your local fire departments or red cross to find the best option for you in the event of a Tornado.  You need to know what to do and where to go in a moments notice, so I strongly encourage you to make a phone call to either one.

Flashlight
Shoes
Blanket
Stuffed animal

When bad weather is arising, I make sure both of my kids have a flashlight by them, and usually go ahead and put their shoes on.  The flashlight calms some fear, knowing they are more in control of themselves if the power goes out.  The blanket and favorite stuffed animal are for comfort and warmth.  The last thing you want or need, is for a child (or adult!) to hit a panic mode in the midst of an emergency.  Find what keeps your kids or family calm, and make sure it is within reach should an emergency arise.  Think about what rescue workers do on the scene of a house fire, or storm damage, ect.  Those not injured are typically wrapped in a heavy blanket.  For comfort and calming.

Unplug everything.

When bad weather looms around, we unplug everything: tv's, dvd players, computers, ect.  Last year we had a flat screen, a regular tv, 2 dvd players and laptop taken out by lightning.  With the outside damage we ended up filing a home insurance claim, but it is not something I wanted to do and nor do I recommend if you can help it.  Homeowners insurance carriers are getting stricter on their guidelines, and multiple claims can cause it to cancel and/or higher premiums.

Medical Needs


If you or a loved one has a medical need of any kind, make sure you have all equipment/medicine used on a daily basis readily available to go where you go.  If you and your family are trapped in your home after a storm, and one of you has a serious need for medicine they take at a specific time, you need to have that with you.  Consider checking with your doctor on prescribing an extra prescription.  That way you could have all medicines in a bag, ready to grab just for emergencies.  We have one with the epi pen, Benadryl and Motrin.

Long Term Emergency (and good info for short term as well).


Hurricanes can affect you, even if you are not on the coast.  Flooding can affect you no matter where you live.  National disasters are possible.  While non of these are anything we want to think about happening, we need to be aware of the potential dangers that could arise.   Also, if your town is affected by a devastating tornado, you could be without power for some time.  In the event you are warned to evacuate your home, or have no power for a while, here are some tips to consider:

1) If you are told to leave-LEAVE.  You will not be told this if it is not in your best interest.  If you do stay, send your children with someone else.  You can risk your own life, but don't risk your child's.  Just sayin'.

2) Have a backpack hanging in every one's closet.  2 changes of clothes, socks/shoes/underwear.  At least.  Depending on the time frame that you have to evacuate.

3) Medicine and First Aid Kit.  Make sure you have all medical equipment and prescriptions needed.  Put them in a Ziploc bag so you can find them easily.

4) Water.  Most guidelines say to have at least 2 gallons of water per day that you may be without access to normal, clean drinking water.

4) Food.  Crackers, canned foods and a can opener, non perishable items.  Also a good investment is a camping stove and cookware.

5) Entertainment.  Not a top priority, but if you have little ones try to bring something that will keep them busy.  That favorite animal and blanket, coloring books and crayons, cards or personal game stations that can run off of batteries.

6) Flashlights and batteries.  Always check your flashlights to insure that they are working properly and that you have enough batteries for them.  We keep a Rubbermaid container full of all sizes of batteries and another Rubbermaid container full of flashlights.  Battery operated lanterns and a safer source of light than candles.

7) Cell phones and chargers.  Look in to a dc converter for your car, but be careful about charging something in your car when the car is not in use.  You don't want to kill that battery.

8) Talk to your family.  Make everyone a part of any emergency plan you have.  Discuss options, what would make everyone the most comfortable, where you will go.  My son absolutely went nuts this past week when it stormed (he's 4).  But I sat down and tried to talk to him and explain that everything was going to be OK.  This doesn't always work, but YOU have to stay calm and in control, so that everyone else will as well.

9) Radio. You might want to invest in a hand crank radio, or just one that has long battery life.  Having a radio can keep you informed of what is going on around you.

10) Pets.  Have a plan for your pets, whether it be taking them with you or making sure they can take care of themselves.  If they have medical needs, make sure you bring their medicine as well.

11) Infants.  Make sure you have plenty of diapers, wipes and formula.

A couple of years ago I did an article on the Examiner that contains lots of links and more details.  I didn't mean for this post to be so long, but emergency preparedness if something I feel very strongly about.

Lastly, my kids always ask why their room as to be clean before they go to bed.  My reason is simple:  Could you find your way through the dark if the power goes out?  Do you really want to step on a Lego or trip on a baby doll, taking a chance of falling and really getting hurt?

Test yourself and your family.  Wait until after dark and have everyone in their bed.  Cut out all the lights and ask your family members to try and feel their way out of the room.  Could you do it?

OK, if you made it to the end of this long post then give yourself a pat on the back and let me know if you found this useful!!

G'nite!

Amy~The Dixie Diva




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