How You Can Prep Your Family to be Safe During a Natural Disaster

This article was written by our guest author Julian Lane,

Every year, millions of Americans are forced to contend with natural disasters. To keep your home and family safe from events that are ultimately out of your control, you need to be prepared for the worst-case scenarios. With that in mind, here are some steps you can take to ensure everything goes as well as possible during an emergency.

Create a Checklist

If you don’t know where to begin the planning process, start by looking up federal emergency guidelines and creating a checklist. This should include both what you need to do to plan, but it should also contain a step-by-step outline of what to do when a natural disaster strikes. As a start, go through every type of emergency the Northeast is prone to experiencing, and then plan for each one. Once that’s finished, you can organize emergency meeting spots for school, work, and outside the home. Similarly, create a contact list, and have your little ones memorize any emergency numbers that they might need. Storms are scary, especially to our children, so take some time to sit with them and offer a little reassurance.

How to Make an Emergency Kit

Now that you have your checklist, you should make an emergency kit and tailor it to the natural disasters you’re most likely to encounter in the Northeast, such as ice storms and blizzards. You and your family will need first aid kits, batteries, blankets, warm clothes, hand-crank lights and radio, a portable cell phone charger, and at least three days’ worth of canned food and bottled water. While you shouldn’t try to use your car during an emergency, you should have an emergency kit in your vehicle in case you end up getting stuck while you’re out.

Plan an Evacuation Route

Every single family member — including the little ones — must have your evacuation routes learned by heart. Unfortunately, that means memorizing multiple scenarios, such as one parent being at work or the children being at school or a friend’s home. Given this possibility, you should also plan how you’ll communicate should anyone become separated. While you might be hesitant, it may be wise to get even your littlest family member a smartphone with geolocation. By using smart devices, evacuation routes can be updated as needed, such as if you switch schools or your little ones make new friends.

Prepare for Blizzards

Preparing for a blizzard means having your family know your plan and keeping your emergency kits ready and stocked. In winter, always keep your gas tank full, as you cannot predict traffic patterns when a storm hits. A good way to involve the kids (and ease their fears) is to have them help with insulating the home for winter. Once that’s done, have them pick out some games you can all play inside to keep their spirits lifted. Should you lose power or go through all your supplies, know where the nearest shelter is and how to get there. This can be a terrifying experience, but with the right prep, you and your family can stay safe.

Be Ready for a Hurricane

While it may not immediately come to mind when you think of disasters that affect you, it’s best to have a hurricane plan ready. The winds alone in a hurricane can be devastating, and some have reached almost 200 miles per hour. As with a blizzard, you’ll need a well-planned route for evacuation, as well as emergency cash to buy last-minute supplies and gas for your vehicle if necessary. After all, no one can predict what network may crash, preventing credit and debit cards from being used. If you are caught at home and cannot evacuate, stay away from windows, and turn your fridge down before you lose power to keep goods fresh for longer.

Natural disasters are a sad reality we face every year. That said, being ready with your emergency checklist and kits can help keep you and your family safe and sound during a natural disaster. This is not something to take lightly, so ensure even your children are prepared and understand what they need to do should a blizzard or other storm hit.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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