Natural disasters can happen at any time and may cripple your neighborhood and city. Whether you are forced to evacuate or are confined to your home, having a personal disaster plan in place will help you think and communicate in advance about what you need to have on hand and who needs to be in contact during an emergency.
Create A Personal Network
Create a personal support network of people who will check in on you during and after an emergency. This network should include neighbors, family members, and friends who live near you and can coordinate a check-in. When creating your list of emergency numbers, list one person who lives several hours away or in another state. Have conversations with everyone in your support network in advance to let them know they are on your list in case of an emergency. Discuss how you will get in touch with each other. What if the telephone lines are down? Does someone in your network have a key to your home to be able to get inside? FEMA.gov has free family emergency plans that can be filled out and distributed to your personal support network. Keep a copy of this document in your emergency kit.
Create an Emergency Kit
Your emergency kit should include enough water and non-perishable food items to cover a few days. Make sure you have flashlights, batteries, radios, your hearing aids, and prescriptions for seven days. If you use a mobility aid keep it in a designated place in your home so it can be found quickly. Include a whistle to attract the attention of emergency personnel if needed. Scan all important documents and keep them on a flash drive in your emergency kit. The American Red Cross offers a more complete list of items to consider including in your emergency kit here.
Disasters can happen anytime, and it is important to take time to create a personal disaster plan and a kit to have easily accessible if needed. Having a plan in place will allow you to feel better prepared if and when an emergency occurs.