September is National Preparedness Month, and the Centers for Disease Control would like you to remember 3 simple steps to keep your family safe in the event of an emergency situation.
Get a Kit
Putting together a good kit is the first step in getting prepared. If you have children, include them in the process by letting them add things that make them feel secure, such as a favorite book or food.
Some basic items to include in your kit include:
- Radio (hand-crank or battery-powered with extra batteries)
- First-aid kit
- Can opener
- Canned goods
- Prescription Medications
- Think of your family’s specific needs. For example, if you have an infant, keep any special foods or extra diapers on hand.
Keep a similar kit in each car, along with a blanket, nonperishable food, and a charger for your phone or other essential electronics.
Make a Plan
Knowing what to do in an emergency is just as important as having a kit. Make sure your plan includes ways to reunite your family if they are separated at the time of the emergency. Teach children important names, phone numbers and addresses.
Protecting your family will involve others, as well. Pick a family member out of town to be a common contact for everyone to call or text. Sometimes local telephone networks can be jammed. If someone else cares for your children during part of the day, always make sure they know what to do and who to contact in an emergency, too. Lastly, make sure you have a plan for what to do with your pets. They are part of the family, too!
Being informed of your family’s situation when everyone is separated during the day is important. Know the emergency plan in your children’s schools and keep your emergency contact information up to date. Delegate a close family friend as an alternate contact who could pick your children up if you or your spouse is not able to do so. Consider using a word that only you and your children know, and make sure your children know only to leave with someone who can tell them what the code word is. This word can be anything, like a favorite book character, and can serve as the “password” or the “code word.”
In an emergency, talk to your children about what is happening. Be honest and explain the situation; it’s better to learn about it from you than from the media. Set an example with your own actions by maintaining a sense of calm, even when you are distressed. This will help your family cope in any emergency.
Events and information can change quickly in an emergency. Pay attention to information from local leaders, such as the police department, so you can make the best, most informed decisions for you and your family.