Pondering how to prepare for a disaster can often be overwhelming. So, a good way to tackle emergency preparedness is to break down the various steps into weekly assignments that families can easy tackle over a month or so.
Here are easy ways to get your family ready for a disaster, in four steps, based on information from FEMA and the American Red Cross.
Week one assignment: Establish ICE contacts in cell phone
ICE means “in case of emergency.” Most cell phones have a feature that allows for ICE numbers to show up without the lock code. Go to “emergency call,” and an icon will show up that lead to your ICE contacts.
We recommend two ICE contacts. The first one would be in-state for anything that is not a disaster situation (i.e., a medical emergency) and an out-of-state contact for disasters or when communications are down in-state. In most cases, you can still make calls out of state. The out-of-state contact should be someone who knows all your family members, and where your family members can call to get updates on your situation; this means you can update all your family members with one phone call.
Week two assignment: Emergency routes
Know three different routes that lead from work to home. Each emergency route needs to be labeled A, B or C, with maps in your car and at home. If there is an emergency and you need to leave your car, just leave a message that states you are taking route A, B or C for responders, and when notifying your out-of-state contact you just give the label. Your family will know what route you’re taking, since you planed ahead.
Week three assignment: Role play
We live at a time when we no longer prepare for the big one, but the triple threat. The best way to know what to do is to make an activity that is fun and allows for discussion. What do you and your family do if you’re at work, the kids are at school and mom is at home, if there is a snow storm, no power and the river is flooding? Do the kids walk home? Do you and your neighbors have an assigned person to pick up all the kids from elementary, and another neighbor to pick up from the high school? Make this a block party, and have games. Emergencies are easier on kids and adults when they know what do and have already practiced.
Week four assignment: Establish guidelines
This means the gas tank is never less than half full, kids must always text or call anytime when schedule changes, parents must keep an emergency fund at home of small bills and change. Always keep at least two weeks worth of food at home.
Set some guidelines that you can keep that will make things easier on you and your family when things happen.