Hurricane Sandy Photo Credit:	NASA GOES ProjectEmergencies of all sorts can happen at any moment and at any place. It doesn’t matter where you are, when emergency strikes, it hits by surprise. But, this doesn’t mean that you cannot be ready for it and do some emergency preparedness planning. The truth is, most things in life are like emergencies – they happen suddenly. And the best thing that you can do is to be ready to face it when it comes.

Disasters and accidents can happen anytime and anywhere — you may be at home, at work, in school, or even in a restaurant eating your favorite meal. Unfortunately, just like most people, you may be caught off guard when confronted with an emergency. The sad fact is, most people don’t think about preparing for an emergency until it happens – and it’s too late. This is basically why many government agencies are trying their best to stress the importance of emergency preparedness planning to the public.

Emergency Planning at Home

Talking to your family about the possibility of disaster and accidents and why it is necessary to be prepared for them is the first crucial step in emergency preparedness planning at home. During the process of advanced planning, be sure to involve each member, especially children. By telling them that even simple preparations can save their lives, you increase their interest and ultimately reduce their fears and anxieties about emergencies. So, what can you actually do to increase your family’s safety during crisis situations?

  • Make sure that everyone in the family knows where the first aid kit is located.
  • Have a “Go-bag” that contains essential items such as clothes, cash, bottled water, canned goods, flashlight, etc.
  • Locate the gas tank, main power switch, and other utilities and make sure that all members know when and how to unplug or turn them off.
  • Make sure that each member knows your mobile phone number so they can call you wherever you are.
  • Determine the best two escape routes in your home. Tell your family to use these routes when there’s a need to go out of the house, such as during fire.
  • Keep a flashlight and any durable footwear under each occupied bed in case there is an earthquake during the night.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher at home and teach your family how to use it.
  • Make an arrangement on where to meet after a disaster.

Emergency Planning in the Workplace

Employers have a responsibility to prepare their employees before, during, and after an emergency. Unfortunately, recent disasters have shown that many agencies and organizations are not adequately prepared for catastrophic situations. To ensure your safety in the office, check with your employer about their organizational survival plan. If you are the employer, on the other hand, you can include the following in your disaster preparedness planning.

  • Involve everyone in emergency planning, including board members, managers, staff members, security personnel, etc.
  • Give your employees certain trainings so they can protect themselves and their co-workers from any crisis situation.
  • Assign a month as “Emergency planning month” so you’ll never forget to review and discuss your survival plan even if it’s just once in a year.
  • Make sure to have a map of the building and discuss the best places to go in case of an emergency.
  • Plan for communication before, during, and after a crisis. Set up a telephone calling tree to communicate with everyone.
  • Have fire extinguishers all over the place and teach your employees how to use them.
  • Acquire other emergency supplies, such as first aid kits, battery-enabled radios, flashlights, etc.

It is critical for all people to prepare themselves for emergency situations. Emergency experts advise individuals to be self-sufficient for at least three days without outside assistance or emergency services.

Emergency preparedness planning at home and in the workplace is very important, especially now that we are living in a time where disasters are becoming a common occurrence. Emergency planners encourage everyone to be well-equipped in case an emergency strikes so they may be able to help themselves, their families, and colleagues anytime.

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