Written By: Lee Flynn
Dealing with an emergency is rarely easy, but you can make the process simpler by preparing in advance. Many families have no emergency plan in place. The unfortunate reality is that most people will experience an emergency situation at some point. Hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and even blackouts can leave your family in a panic if you have no plan in place. By preparing in advance, you can keep your family calm in an emergency.
Keeping Your Family Calm:
⇒ Prepare and Practice
The key to keeping calm is to make your emergency procedures automatic. Create a plan for evacuating in a hurry, gathering necessary supplies and accounting for all of your family members. Designate a part of your home that can be used to shelter in place. In the case of tornadoes, this is often the basement. Be aware, however, that you may have to move to higher ground in case of flooding or hurricane situations. Be flexible in your planning.
Once you have put an emergency plan into place, practice it with your entire family again and again so that it is automatic. Designate a task for each person. Older children can help round up younger children or pets. The adults can be in charge of accessing the food storage or first aid supply kits. The key to keeping calm is knowing the procedures and making them second nature. People panic when they are confused, so take the mystery out of preparing for an emergency.
⇒ Create a Survival Kit
In an emergency, you may have to survive for several days without access to food, water or electricity. Create a survival kit that includes, at minimum, the following items:
- Water for every member of the family (one gallon per person, per day)
- Nonperishable food (3 day supply if you evacuate, 2week supply if you shelter in place)
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Solar powered radios
- First aid kits
- Necessary medicines
- Copies of vital records (insurance policies, deed to home, passports, birth certificates)
- Emergency contact information
- Weather appropriate clothing
- Area maps
- Reflective tape
- Whistles (to signal to first responders)
You may also need additional supplies to accommodate the needs of other family members. These may include baby formula, diapers, toys, adult diapers and pet foods. In addition, it is helpful to have tools on hand to make small repairs. People often panic when they are lacking in the resources they need to feel safe. If you have adequate supplies, you will be less likely to panic and remain calm knowing you will be fine until help arrives
The local Red Cross or other rescue services agency may have resources available to help you build up your emergency kit.
⇒ Understand Emergency Procedures
The steps you take in an emergency will vary according to the actual disaster. Your actions in the event of a blackout will be different from those in the case of a tornado. Dealing with the aftermath of a terrorist attack is completely different from preparing for a hurricane. The steps you take in a fire differ greatly from those you take in a blackout.
In a fire emergency, for example, the primary focus is on getting out of the home as quickly as possible. In a tornado, however, the key to safety may be to find a safe place to shelter at home which will keep you out of the path of flying debris. An emergency evacuation situation may mean getting everyone out and packing up the car quickly. By practicing procedures for each scenario, you will be more calm in the event of an emergency and less likely to panic. The children in your family will follow suit and be calm as well.
When it comes to remaining calm in an emergency, planning, practice and preparedness are key. From finding the right resources you need to gather and store food, developing an emergency kit and having a plan in place, you will be able to get out in an emergency and keep your family safe.
How do you plan on keeping your family calm in an emergency?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lee is a freelance writer and expert in emergency food preparedness and food storage.