ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) —Each week of September, the National Preparedness Month campaign focuses on a different aspect of preparedness. The theme for week 1, September 1-4, is Make a Plan. Making a plan is vital. This week is built on communication within your circle of friends and family, and deciding how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster. It is important to remember that your family and household may not be together when disaster strikes. You can’t always rely on your phones, especially in an emergency, so it is recommended to have a designated meeting place.
The Ready Campaign has a few steps for your family to sit down and complete before filling out your final plan. The first step is to know what kinds of disasters could impact your area. Then they suggest going over these questions with your 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?
- Do I need to update my emergency preparedness kit?
- Check with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and update your emergency plans due to the Coronavirus.
Next, you can tailor your plan to the specific needs of your family. Some aspects to keep in mind are the different ages of members in the household, dietary needs, medical needs – including prescriptions and equipment – responsibilities for those assisting others, pets or service animals, among many other things. Then when you sit down to fill out your plan, you can make sure you have touched on everything. You can find a template of a family emergency plan on Ready’s website at ready.gov/plan.
Preparing your family for a disaster involves more than just creating a plan. Each family member, especially children, need to know exactly what to do during an emergency. When an emergency arises, it becomes easy for parents and adults to become worried, and this can scare children. The Texas Department of State Health Services suggests to spend an afternoon pretending that an emergency has taken place to allow everyone in the household to practice their specific roles. They even suggest to make a game out of it asking them questions like “who’s our local emergency contact? Who’s responsible for watching the dog? What are the phone numbers you will call?” The more your household practices the plan, the better they will be able to recall what to do during an actual emergency.
This week, take some time to sit down and write out your emergency plan with your family. Next week, we’ll look into building your emergency kit.