Friday, September 10, 2010

Make a Plan

Here's a new post from our guest blogger Jeff Gurney. Being "Red Cross Ready" consists of three parts, Get a Kit, Make a Plan, and Be Informed. Below is Jeff's plan, what's yours??

The second part of being prepared in case of an emergency is to make a plan. This has two parts to it.

I had not set up my plan. So after discussing it with my family and educating myself on what was the best way to go about this. This is what I came up with.

First is to make a plan on how to get out of your house and if at work on how to get out of the building you are in. In the case of your house you will want to find the easiest and fastest way out of your house. You will also want to have alternate routes out of your house if the primary route is blocked. This could include safety ladders positioned in windows of bedrooms or other rooms. These are only necessary if those rooms are on the second floor. Some houses have basement windows that are well below ground level and should have permanent ladders in all windows.

Having fire extinguishers located in vital areas through out the house is also important in case of fire. Make sure that all family members know this escape plan and where the ladders and extinguishers are located. An important part of this plan is also a pre-planned meet up point away from the house.

The second part of the plan is if the house or building is not safe to occupy and you need to stay somewhere else. Pre-plan a location such as a relatives house near by or a shelter that all family members can meet up in. Know where your locale Red Cross shelter is located. Have all important documents photocopied and in a zip-loc water proof bag. It is important to have these in an easy to find location. Things like birth certificates, copy of a drivers license, social security card, mortgage papers and insurance cards.

Have more than one first-aid kit on hand. It is good to have one for the house as well as one for the car. If you are unable to get to the one in the house then you can get the one from the car if anyone is injured.

It is a good idea to also have important telephone numbers handy in case of emergency. These phone numbers might include the police, fire department, and close relatives. At times of emergency you will find that your 72 hour kit comes in handy.

If there is an earthquake and severe damage is done to your home, make sure that you have a wrench to turn off the gas and also make sure that you turn off the electricity to the house from the main breaker panel. These two things can save you from having even more damage done to your house after the earthquake is over.

If there is a large earthquake and damage is done to your house, make sure you do not re-occupy your home until it has been checked out and authorities have deemed it safe to go back in. If there are any questions about this process talk to your local building inspector.

It is a best practice to have periodic drills or dry runs to make sure that everyone is on the same page and understands the plan. This also gives you a better idea of the things that work, and the ones that need to be changed to better fit the family's needs.

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