Emergency Preparedness Plan Considerations – The “How To’s”
Emergency preparedness plan considerations. Sometimes there is advanced warning of hazardous conditions as with hurricanes and winter storms. Other times, natural disasters such as tornados and earthquakes instantly create a life-threatening circumstance. Mr. Christy’s previous article defined Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Management and emphasized the need to plan. Now he dives into the “How To’s”.
To recap, Emergency Preparedness is the act of planning in advance and being ready for an unforeseen situation or circumstance that requires immediate action.
Emergency Preparedness Plan Considerations at Home, Work, and Vehicle – How to Plan
1. Know what types of disasters and emergencies could affect your area.
2. Consider your family’s specific needs.
a. If we shelter, do we shelter at home (tornado warning) or go to a shelter facility (hurricane or flood)?
b. At home, where is the safest place (interior hallway, closet, bathroom)?
c. If we go to a facility or are at home for an extended period, what supplies will we need?
d. If we evacuate: How will we leave? Where will we go? What are alternate routes and other means of transportation? Will the place accept pets? How will we communicate if we get separated?
4. How will we communicate?
Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is essential that your plan explains how you will communicate and how you will reconnect if separated. Designate a meeting place that is familiar, easy to find, and easy to get to should you be separated. My personal experience has shown text messaging can be available even if voice service is not. Ensure everyone knows to try sending a text if phone calls do not go through.
Bugout Bag Contents and Storage
1. Identify the family’s specific needs: food (diet requirements/restrictions), water (at least one gallon per person per day for several days), medications, medical equipment (with backup batteries/charger/power supply), and supplies for seniors or pets/service animals.
2. Ensure items are in airtight containers: Put items not already in airtight packaging into airtight plastic bags. Then, place all items into one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or duffel bags.
3. Maintain kit: keep kit in a cool, dry place; ensure airtight containers/bags are intact, monitor expiration dates, review family needs annually, and update kit as needs change.
Emergency Preparedness Kit Locations
1. Home: Keep this kit in a designated place that is cool and dry. Have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly and ensure all family members know where it is kept.
2. Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. This kit should include food, water, medicines and other necessities, and comfortable walking shoes. I would also include outerwear for the season (winter gear or rain gear.)
3. Vehicle: Keep a kit in your car in case you are stranded. In addition to standard emergency supplies also include a flashlight or headlamp, extra batteries, rain gear, waterproof boots, blanket, and cold weather gear. In addition, include a windshield sign indicating emergency circumstance. Signage that catches the eye of passing vehicles.
About the Author
Mr. James Christy is a distinguished and expert safety professional (retired) with decades of experience practicing and leading teams in the arenas of Environmental Health and Safety (ESH), Security, Quality Control, Training, and Academia. With 35+ years’ experience, Jim conducted safety investigations, established OSHA programs and process improvements, served on corporate safety committees (domestic and international), and led sites in achieving OSHA VPP Star recognition and ISO/OHSAS compliance/registration. Jim’s commitment to service continues with mentoring next generation safety professionals and sharing his wealth of knowledge as a contributing author.