In case of an emergency, you need to have a game-plan. Whether the emergency means you are cut off from power and access to outside sources of food and water, or are being forced to leave your home due to fire or flood, there are essentials that you should already have assembled.
- Think ahead and have items such as insurance cards and medical information handy in case of injury or sudden illness.
- Always ensure that all prescriptions are kept filled in case you are unable to reach a pharmacy during an emergency.
- Emergency kits should be kept freshly stocked and labeled, and located in a place known to all members of the household.
- Copies of important documents should be kept off site, such as in a safe deposit box, or at least in a fireproof safe in the house.
- Make sure all adults know how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at main switches. (If natural gas is turned off, have a professional come turn it back on.)
- Make sure all children know how to dial 9-1-1 to get emergency assistance, and show them how to make long-distance telephone calls (Having an out of state contact in case of major emergency is a good plan - local telephone systems may be overloaded in case of local emergency.)
- Have a pre-arranged meeting place in case of separation, or if all family members are not home when an emergency occurs. Your family should have a clearly defined escape plan as well; in case of fire, a way to get out from upper stories should already be in place and fire drills rehearsed to ensure everyone knows how to get out safely.
- Conduct drills for natural disasters such as earthquake, hurricane or tornado. Keep blankets and slippers in a shed or car trunk in case you are forced out of your house at night in inclement weather.