September is National Preparedness Month, a good time to think about those affected by disasters such as fire, floods and hurricanes, and a good time to have your own emergency preparedness plan for the unexpected.
Less than half of U.S. families have a family emergency plan. It is crucial you have a plan of what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency, and what to do if you must evacuate on short notice.
Here are some tips from the US Dept. of Homeland Security, The American Red Cross, Disaster Relief, and Save the Children
How to Start a Preparedness Plan
Put together a plan by discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route?
- What is my family/household communication plan?
Identify and practice evacuation routes from your home to a safe place. Make sure to coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your work, and your community’s emergency plans.
Make an “In case of emergency” card for each family member, with emergency contact and medical information. These can be vitally important if your family is separated during a disaster.
Download and fill out this family emergency plan from the Dept. of Homeland Security, or use it as a guide to create your own.
Create Disaster Kits
Prepare an emergency “go” kit for each family member with enough food, water, flashlight, personal hygiene items, essential medications and medical supplies, copies of important documents, special comfort items for children (teddy bear or favorite toy) and other basic supplies to last three days.
Be informed about what disasters or emergencies may occur where you live, work, and play and understand how to respond as safely as possible. Find out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information.
Staying informed of changing disaster and recovery conditions before, during, and after a disaster strikes will help keep you and your family safe. Follow news broadcasts, community communications, and online forums. If you are evacuated, do not return home until local authorities say that it is safe to do so.
Have a portable battery powered radio or television on hand to monitor local emergency information. Be ready to act if a disaster warning is issued.
Assist When and How You Can
People can help by staying informed, raising awareness of the situation by sharing updates, giving blood, volunteering for recovery efforts, and offering words of encouragement and support.
Get trained in First Aid and CPR/ AED skills so you can help in case emergency help is delayed. Check with your local fire department. In New York City, the FDNY offers free CPR classes.
Give to organizations that help, disaster relief organizations depend on the generosity of donors like you.
Donations enable these organizations to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from unexpected events big and small. Please consider donating to a disaster relief charity today.
To ensure that 100% of your contribution goes toward relief efforts, PayPal will cover the costs associate with your donation made here.
How disaster relief organizations responded during 2017
See our list of disaster relief organizations which responded to the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma in the US and in the Caribbean.
The American Red Cross mobilized 56,000 disaster workers to more than 242 significant disasters in 45 states and three territories.
Direct Relief puts an emphasis on helping those affected by disasters navigate moving from emergency response to emergency recovery. Direct Relief has expanded its hurricane preparedness program this year, sending medicine and supplies to over 50 clinics and health centers in the United States, as well as to hospitals across 13 countries.
Save The Children has a history of humanitarian crisis response spanning more than 100 years, Save The Children has responded to every major U.S. disaster since Hurricane Katrina, meeting the immediate needs of children in shelters, restoring access to early education services, and ensuring children and their caregivers have access to the social and emotional supports they need to cope and recover. Save the Children continues to lead recovery programs in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico following Hurricane’s Harvey, Irma and Maria and is committed to helping communities and education program build back better and socially and emotionally recover from the storms.