Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Helping Prepare Loved Ones for Disasters/Emergencies

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Feb 21, 2018 12:54 PM

In 2017, the damage caused by natural disasters in the United States was estimated at $306 billion at least. California saw its most disastrous wildfire season ever. Puerto Rico's blackout is the longest in the history of the United States, and it was caused by a hurricane. Hurricane Harvey broke the record as the tropical storm with the most rainfall. By the end of the year, ten times more Americans were applying for federal disaster aid than the year before.

Maybe 2017 was a particularly bad year. Maybe we are seeing the results of human-made climate change. Whatever you believe, however, you must see that it is getting harder to keep your loved ones safe. Being prepared is necessary if you want to stay safe during natural disasters and other emergency events.

Learn the Procedures

Disasters are large-scale events that can easily catch you and your loved ones off guard. But even if you manage to keep your cool during a disaster, you don't want to spend a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to react. You want to go to action immediately.

There are some phenomenal resources online where you can learn the proper way to respond to different disaster scenarios. If you want to be able to help your loved ones prepare for disasters, you need to know the best ways to help. At the very least, you need to know how to react to the disasters that are most likely to occur in your area.

Create a Disaster Plan

A household disaster plan should cover evacuation, communication, and meeting points. However, since disaster might happen while your loved ones are at school or work, you should also get familiar with the disaster plans they will be following. There might be a role for you in those plans, like picking up the kids from school.

If you have loved ones in a nursing home, you should check the nursing home disaster plan. Because they are home to people who might have trouble moving or even understanding what is happening during a disaster, nursing homes might be challenging to evacuate. Become familiar with any role you might be asked to perform in the case of a disaster.

Create a Communication Plan

You need to have a list of all the important phone numbers you will need during a disaster. Your children's school, spouse's job, and parents' home phone numbers have to be on the list. Do not rely on your cell phone to keep the phone numbers -- if your phone dies, you will not be able to contact your loved ones if you find a working landline. Print out several copies of the list and laminate them. Make sure you have a copy in your home, car, place of work, children's school, and your spouse's place of work.

You could include email addresses on the list. It is also a good idea to add a contact of one person who lives far away from you. In case of a disaster, they might not be affected, and they can serve as a communication in-between for you and your loved ones.

Create an Emergency Kit

You can create two types of emergency kits. The first one is more of a stockpile of necessities than a kit, and it contains what you and your loved ones will need if you cannot leave your home during a disaster. Foods, water, and batteries are the things you will need the most.

If you have to leave your house during a disaster, you will need to have a go kit. In it, you should keep clean clothes, as well as the things you normally use around the house or carry with you. Your personal documents should be there, as well as any prescription medication you or your loved ones need.

If you want to help your loved ones stay safe during a disaster or an emergency event, you will also have to practice with them how to behave when these events happen. Let your children know what they should be doing while in school, and make sure they remember where the meeting place is and who to call. Your spouse and other loved ones should also be aware of their role in your security plan.

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