The fairly recent earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan has shocked the world. The horrific scenes seen on television seemed like something that you would usually see in a movie with CGI effects but sadly this is not the case. Because disasters can happen at any time and in any place, you should employ disaster preparedness and make an emergency plan. It does not hurt to be prepared and it might even save your (and your family members) life.
Disasters and emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, and every member in your family should know the details of the emergency plan in the event that these do happen. Having an emergency plan should be part of your disaster preparedness. Your emergency plan should include:
- Safe and possible exits in your home and in your neighborhood
- Places to meet in the event that the disaster struck and you and your family members are not together
- A designated person to fetch the children from school and other family members in case you are not available
- Emergency contact people; they can include relatives who live near your home or relatives who live far away from you
- Health and insurance information
- The location of the fire extinguishers in your house, the main water valve, the electrical panel and circuit breaker, the gas valve, and the floor drain
Part of your disaster preparedness is personal mitigation. Mitigation is mainly knowing and avoiding unnecessary risks which include the assessment of possible risks to the members of your family and personal property. Personal preparedness is focused on preparing the things you might need when the disaster does occur. This might include installation of warning devices, having evacuation plans, and preparing a disaster supplies kit.
You should have a bug-out bag as part of your disaster preparedness. Also known as a grab bag or a 72-hour kit, this emergency kit is focused on evacuation rather than long-term survival. Its purpose is to allow a person to evacuate quickly if a disaster happens. The supplies inside should be enough for 72 hours. The contents of the grab bag vary but it usually has enough food and water to last for 72 hours (1 gallon per person a day), a first aid kit, fire starting tools, maps and travel information, medicine, hand knife, identification, and cash. Others prepare a more comprehensive survival kit similar to those used by the military. It generally contains items for warmth and shelter, health and first aid kits, food and water, signaling and navigation devices, and other multipurpose tools and materials.
Disaster preparedness is serious business and it should be done especially if you live in a disaster-prone area. Having adequate food, water, and shelter during and after a disaster can be the difference between life and death for you and your family. You can never be too prepared because as stated before, disasters can occur anytime and anywhere. If you have not done this, it is never too late to do it and be sure to involve the members of your family in it.