Emergency Disaster Preparedness - 4 Crucial

Aspects to an Escape Plan

By Deborah Tutnauer  

With all the news recently regarding natural disasters and terrorism fears, it is easy to forget that the most common emergency or disaster scenario effecting families are house fires. Home evacuation plans are crucial for every family and might be used in many types of emergencies requiring evacuation, but they are especially important for fire planning.

Taking the time to plan and practice can mean the difference between life and death. There are many aspects to consider, but the 4 most crucial aspects to emergency disaster preparedness in the home are related to escape.

  1. 1.) Make a detailed map of your home

    2.) Practice escape drills

    3.) Have a plan in case you are separated

    4.) Have and practice using an emergency preparedness kit or pack.

Let's go over these four crucial aspects to an escape plan in detail.

Make a detailed map of your home - The map should include all entries and exits, including accessible windows. Label the primary and secondary escape route from each room. Label each room that someone sleeps in and who sleeps there. Label the shut off valves for gas, water and electricity. Designate a gathering place on the map, which is outside the home.

Practice your escape plan - A plan is only as good as the knowledge and comfort level of the people using it. Everyone in the family must know how to escape, whether through a door or through a window. In a two story home, you'll want to invest in a fire escape ladder that allows you to descend from an upstairs window. Experts recommend one in each room, especially if a hallway fire could block access from one room to the next. Practice shutting off valves for gas, electricity, etc..Don't really do it, just make sure everyone knows where they are. Have a pair of shoes, gloves and a flashlight or light stick near every bed. Make sure everyone knows where the Emergency Disaster Preparedness kit is, and make a plan for someone grabbing it when you exit the house.

Have a plan in case you are separated - In additions to having a gathering place designated outside the home you need some other plans in place as well. Have an out-of-state and out-of-town person designated as a contact, for each family to call in case you are separated. Try and have the phone numbers memorized, inside your cell phone and posted by phones in the house.

Have and practice using you Emergency Disaster Preparedness Kit. - It has become common place for people to think in terms of a 72 hour kit, but more and more, as you speak with experts in the field, they are recommending a five day kit. This has to do with everything from how long it may take help to arrive in a larger scale disaster, to the better safe than sorry mentality of having a bit more water and food than you need, rather than a bit less. Once either purchase or put together your kit, take the time to familiarize yourself with the items insides and how to use them. In an emergency situation, it will be comforting to know what is there, and imperative to not add stress by being confused by the contents.

Emergency and Disaster Preparedness is not an option. An ounce of forethought now, is worth a pound of reaction later.

What if you hear a knock on the door and were told, "You Have Five Minutes to Evacuate". Would you know what to do next? Do you have a bag ready to go with all the essentials? The experts in emergency preparedness have developed lists, supplies and plans to help you get prepared. Being proactive is key here. NOW is the time to be in action. It is the best and least expensive life insurance you can acquire.

Disaster Preparedness - 5 Top Tips For

Earthquake Survival

By Wayne Bennett  

The recent earthquakes in Haiti remind us that we must be prepared. This impoverished country had little to no preparedness in place. We must take steps to become more self reliant and capable of taking care of our own families in an emergency.

I have been involved professionally in emergency response since 1982. In that time I have responded to thousands of emergencies. Mostly of the daily 9-1-1 nature. Some were of a catastrophic nature, including large earthquakes, wild fires and floods. I have also been training the public in disaster preparedness since 1987. What I have come away with is a pattern of unpreparedness by civilians. This led me to create this list of the top 5 things one should do to prepare in the order of importance.

1. "Real" First Aid Kit- This is number one because injuries don't and can't wait. They must be addressed immediately. You must have a kit that can handle problems even when you do not have immediate access to 9-1-1. A "Real" first aid kit is a kit that is more than a owie or boo, boo kit. More than just Band-Aids and wipes. What you need is a kit with at least CPR barrier mask, trauma dressings, multiple 4x4 gauze dressings, gauze rolls, paramedic scissors, a real splint (not popsicle sticks), sterile water, burn dressing, etc. This is a kit that can manage serious and minor injuries. The ability to stabilize and sterilize can be lifesaving when outside sources become limited or unavailable.

2. Utility shutoff tool- The ability to control your gas and water meters is extremely important to minimize property damage and risk to life safety. To reduce the risk of fire and explosions immediately following an earthquake is critical. Always check the gas meter dials to determine a leak. As most leaks will be in the walls or attic of the home and you may not smell gas til it is to late. Look for a non-sparking metal tool that will turn off both your gas and water meters.

3. Fire Extinguisher- Since all fires start small, having an extinguisher handy is a great advantage for preserving life and property. Purchase an ABC dry chemical extinguisher. This type will extinguish all three classes of fire (ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids and electrical. Keep a fire extinguisher in the home and car. Periodically check the gauge for pressure.

4. Water storage- Even though you may not need water in the next hour. It will become critical to your families survival in the following hours and days. This not something you can get later. Store enough Water- a minimum of one gallon per person per day for 7-14 days for drinking and hygiene. Store tap water in approved barrels and treat with "Water Preserver" for five-year storage. Keep "Water Purification Tablets" on hand to treat any untreated or questionable water. One tablet will treat one quart of water. Never store water in old bleach bottles, milk type plastic containers (as they are made from breathable plastic) in the garage because any fumes from vehicles, paints, solvents, pesticides will contaminate your supply.

5. Car Survival Kit- Since we take our cars everywhere, place one in each family members car. You will always be prepared. Store 3-day Food Bar, Sterile Water Pouches, Medical, Warmth (thermal blanket) & Lightsticks and flashlight in your kit.