Create an Emergency Plan for Your Family
After tackling our budget, the next thing I’d recommend looking at is our family emergency preparedness. This sets us up to be safe before, during, and after a medical emergency or natural disaster. Since these situations aren’t very predictable, having a plan ahead of time can bring us assurance that we will be ok in many different situations.
Identifying Potential Emergencies
The first thing we did as we started building our plan was identify what types of scenarios are possible, or more likely in the area we live in. Since we live in Idaho, natural disasters such as tsunamis and hurricanes are not a problem here, but for my husband on his mission in North Carolina, that was a huge reality.
There are several kinds of natural disasters, but the common ones are: earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, floods, winter storms, and volcanic eruptions. Based on where you live, these disasters may be more or less likely. Do some research to assess your risk level for each.
Once you have identified which emergencies your family is more at risk for, it’s time to make a plan based on your needs.
Creating a Family Emergency Plan
Creating a Family Emergency Plan allows you to accommodate your individual family’s needs.
First, research safety tips and procedures for different emergencies. What if’s can be intimidating for some people, because we would rather think of happy things, rather than the worst case scenario. But if you form a plan ahead of time, you will know what to do, and how to do it. Use questions like these as you make your plan:
- If you need to shelter-in-place, where will that be, and what will you need?
- If you need to get out of your house, where could you meet?
- If you need to leave for an extended period of time, where would you go?
- Do you have furry family members that may need to go somewhere different than the family or can they come with you?
- Are there any medical concerns you should prepare for ahead of time? (Medications to have on hand, battery operated health machines, etc.)
Want a guide to help you build your own family emergency plan? Check out these tips and links to our workbook!
Learn the Basics for First Aid and CPR
Many of us went to Scouts or Girls’ Camps where we were required to learn some of the basics of first aid or CPR as part of our merit badges and certifications. Having a first aid kit and CPR certification can help you be prepared in case of a medical emergency, and help to sustain the patient until help can arrive.
Your local Red Cross usually will offer classes that you can attend on a Saturday or in the evenings, or if you would like to take it online at Online CPR Certification.
Establish Safe Habits
Another great way to prepare for an emergency is to create safe habits within our own homes. Keeping up on regular home maintenance can prevent fires, leaks or flooding, mold, and other health risks. Try incorporating these habits into your home maintenance. (This is not an exhaustive list)
- Replacing air filters
- Regularly clearing lint catcher in the dryer
- Replace batteries in fire and carbon monoxide detectors
- Clean filters and vents on appliances
- Check heaters
- Avoid piggy-back plug-ins
- Clean oven
- Keep chemicals and hazardous materials where children can’t access them
Build a 72-Hour Kit
Do you have a go-bag for your family? A 72-hour kit is a backpack or bag that is easy to grab in the case of an emergency that would have all the essentials to keep your family alive for 72 hours. These can be simple, just using the extra things you have lying around, or fancy pre-made kits from Amazon.
If you are looking to build your own kit, check out our former post Building a 72 Hour Kit to find our 72 hour checklist, and tips for what to look for!
Practice Your Plan
The last step I would recommend is practicing your plan! We all grew up doing fire drills at school about once a month, so that if a real one happened, we would know what to do. There is a reason we did that, so we already had the automatic response. We want to create that in our homes too.
After creating your plan, make sure that each family member knows where to go, and what to do for each type of emergency. Can everyone get out? Can everyone fit in the space selected for tornado shelter? Where would you meet if you evacuated the house? Having practices and meetings sets routines for these situations so everyone knows what to do, and helps relieve some of the anxiety that comes with them.
Creating and implementing an emergency plan can help your family be prepared for the unexpected. This can bring the peace of mind that your family will know what to do to stay safe in these situations. The Lord has foretold that in the last days all things ‘will be in commotion’ (D&C 45:26), but if we are prepared, we don’t need to fear. We hope that as your build your own plan, that you will receive the blessings of being prepared!