Is your family prepared for an emergency?

Is your family prepared for an emergency?

From natural disasters to public shootings, emergencies happen far more often than we like to think. In light of these emergencies, September is dedicated as national emergency preparedness month.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suspects that more than 3,000 organizations are supporting emergency preparedness efforts and encouraging everyone to take part.

The CDC urges citizens to follow four easy steps to prepare for future emergencies. If these four steps are followed in the home, at work, and at school, the greater response we will have if an unfortunate emergency occurs.

  1. Get a kit. Start building your own disaster supply kit. Include basic items such as food and water, and add other important supplies. Once your kit is put together, it is important to maintain it and keep it in a safe location in your home, school or office. As your family changes and grows, items in your kit will also likely change. Keep these changes in mind while maintaining your supply kit.
  2. Make a plan. Families and workplaces should get involved in efforts to prepare a plan of action in the case of different emergencies. Where will you take shelter? How will you make sure everyone who needs to be there is out of harm’s way? Talk about these things before a disaster or emergency strikes. Be proactive!
  3. Be informed. Before an emergency occurs, it is crucial to be informed and aware of what precautions to take before, during, and after an emergency. Know the signs of different disasters so in the event of an emergency, you are prepared to act quickly.
  4. Get involved. Along with the 3,000 or more national, local, public and private organizations advocating for preparedness month, the CDC urges you to join in these efforts. You can do so by volunteering to support disaster relief efforts in your community, starting a preparedness project, or donating money and goods to organizations that assist in these emergency relief efforts.

Lori Ritter, registered nurse and trauma services coordinator at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill., urges families to add a fifth step to prepare for emergencies.

“I would encourage all parents to put together a child ID kit,” Ritter suggests.

  1. Prepare Child ID kits. Email digital photos of all family members to extended relatives and/or friends. Photos of children should be updated every 6 months. Make copies of important documents (e.g. birth certificates) and mail to a friend/relative, and give your children identification information to carry with them in case of an emergency.

“If your child has special health care needs, prepare an emergency information form that lists important meds, treatments and care guidelines that may be needed if evacuated or sheltered away from primary caregivers,” Ritter says.

The CDC and other national organizations provide information regarding the diverse emergency types and how to prepare for them. Be prepared at home, at school or at your workplace before an emergency occurs.

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  1. Families can access specific lists of recommended items and emergency strategies at the above website, run by FEMA.

  2. Very practical advice — if we’ll just follow it!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.