As promised last week in my post Ominous I have a few quick, easy and inexpensive Emergency Preparedness tips to pass on to you this week. Some of you may be thinking emergency preparedness is not for you it's for conspiracy theorists and end-of-the-world zealots. To you I say, GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR------! Are you serious?! Are you really so naive to think that NOTHING will ever happen to you? Get over it! Emergencies happen every day, in every town to people just like you and me; be prepared!
The first step in emergency preparedness is evaluating your circumstances and determining what emergency situations you are most likely to fall victim to. The most basic and close to home emergencies that I can think of are house fire and sicknesses (H1N1). Here in the Pacific Northwest we also have seasonal storms, are subject to landslides and flooding and experience occasional earthquakes. We also live under the threat of volcanic activity. First let's get prepared for the most likely emergencies to hit any household: fire and sickness.
In the last 3 years I personally know 4 families that have lost their homes to house fires. To protect yourself and your family you need to have: a fire extinguisher (to keep small fires from becoming big ones), a fire alarm, a fire evacuation plan and a fire safe. A few weeks ago we had a family meeting on fire safety. We reviewed our plan, practiced our plan and made sure everyone knew where the fire ladders and fire extinguishers were and how they worked. We also emphasized that people are to get out first, then we can worry about animals and stuff. As Heath so eloquently said, "We can get a new fish or bird but we can't get a new Cora!" As you're making your plan remember to designate a meeting place outside the house so you can easily determine who is out and who needs rescuing; we meet at the big tree in the front yard. Be sure to keep all your important papers (titles, birth/death certificates, deeds, insurance papers) in your fire safe so you don't have to risk your life rescuing those.
Sickness is an emergency that needs to be prepared for. It is important to have medications and supplies on hand so you don't have to run to the store and spread sickness wherever you go. If both parents are working or you are a single parent family you should have a plan set up detailing who will stay home with sick children or who will take care of well children when the parents are sick. I think we may have already had the swine flu: a mild case. A few weeks ago we all took turns feeling really rotten and achy and feverish. None of us was so bad that we had to visit a doc but Dave did have to stay home from work for a day or two and the kids all missed a few days of school. I didn't get a day off work when I was sick but I was comforted knowing that I had plenty of Tylenol, juice and tissue and a few freezer meals in the fridge. This allowed me to rest when I needed to and fully recuperate within a weeks time. It is a great idea to have soup, juice, rice, applesauce and ginger ale as well as anti-diarrheal, pain meds, cough drops, etc. on hand at all times. And don't forget the plastic bags and paper towels for your vomit buckets and Lysol and Clorox for your cleanup!
Over the next few weeks watch for items that you need for these emergency situations to go on sale and buy them. Prepare a plan and discuss it with your family at a family meeting next Monday night. By thinking ahead and planning to have fire safety supplies and supplies for recovering from illness you will save yourself time, money and a lot of worry.
In case of fire:
- fire alarms (one by every bedroom, in halls and living areas)
- fire safe
- fire extinguisher
- fire evacuation plan
- fire ladder (if you have 2 stories or high windows)
In case of illness:
- Pain/Fever reducers (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin)
- Anti-Diahreal, Pepto Bismol
- Cough/Cold meds
- Paper Towels
- Plastic garbage bags
- BRAT diet essentials (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast)
- fluids (juice, sports drinks, ginger ale, 7up)
- soups, broths
- Disinfectant (Lysol, Clorox)
- these may also be helpful: Mentholatum, humidifier, face masks, latex gloves, hand sanitizer
Part 1 in an Emergency Preparedness series. Read part 2 "72 hour kits", Read part 3 "Food storage"