Disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year they can strike quickly and without warning. If a disaster occurs in your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations try to help you. But you need to be ready as well. Responders and relief workers may not be able to reach you and your family immediately. Families can work together to cope with disasters by preparing in advance. Being prepared and understanding what to do can reduce fear, anxiety and losses that accompany disasters. Knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility. Help your family to know that if they are prepared, they need not fear emergency situations.
Prepare Your Family
Preparing for disaster helps everyone in the family accept the fact that disasters do happen, and that they can do something about it. Families should work together to identify and collect the resources needed to meet basic needs during and after disaster. When people feel prepared, they cope better.
- Call your local emergency management office or local American Red Cross chapter and ask about the specific hazards in your community and about your risk to those hazards. Also learn about community response plans, evacuation plans and routes, community warning systems, and nearby buildings that are designated as disaster shelters.
- Learn about the emergency plans and procedures that exist in places you and your family spend time. Priority locations include places of employment, schools, and childcare centers.
Family Emergency/Disaster Kit Recommendation
It is important that you and your family have certain basic emergency and first aid supplies available at your home (and office) so that you can respond to home emergency and disaster situations when they arise. Organize your emergency kit(s) and be sure each family member knows where these supplies are kept and has a basic knowledge of how to use them. The supplies in your kit may vary with your family’s individual needs and activities. Please review the following emergency/disaster kit recommendations and create your own kit:
Remember to include important items to preserve your family’s routines, such as favorite toys, games, or books so that your family will be able to have some degree of normalcy if a time of emergency arises.
Family Emergency/Disaster Plan Recommendations
In addition to emergency supplies your family should also have a plan for how to respond to an emergency. Your family plan should be flexible, responsiblites should be divided and often duplictated among family members so that regardless of who is at home the family will still be able to respond properly. You should inlcude in your plan specifics of how family members will contact one another if the family is scattered during an emergency, keep in mind normal lines of communication may not be functioning depending on the scope of the event.
- Discuss with your family the hazards that could impact your local area, the potential for community evacuation or sheltering, and your community’s warning systems and what to do if they are used.
- Determine where to meet in the event of an emergency. Designate one location right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire, and another location outside
your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.
- Ask an out-of-town friend or relative to be your emergency contact. Following a disaster, family members should call this person and tell them where they are.
- Make a communication plan where all family members know how to contact each other. A form for recording this information can be found at www.ready.gov – or at www.redcross.org/contactcard.
- Include provisions for your pets in your family disaster plan.
- Practice the plan.
Animal Emergency/Disaster Recommendations
Be sure to include your companion animals in your emergency and disaster plans. You are your companion animal most import lifeline, be prepared!
Remember to include important items to preserve your companion animals routine, such as favorite toys, bedding, or treats. Normalcy is as important to your companion animals as it is to the rest of your family members.
Disabilities and Vulnerable Populations Recommendations
Download a free copy of Emergency Preparedness Tips for Those with Functional Needs
Emergency Preparedness for Children with Special Health Care Needs
American Academy of Pediatrics, 2003
This website provides emergency medical forms developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) for summarizing critical information about children with special health-care needs. These are intended for completion by a pediatrician.
First Aid & CPR
Knoweldge of first aid procedures may be invaluable for your family durning any type of emegency sistuation. First aid and/or CPR classes are provided at many locations within most communites. Check with your township if CPR is offered through your lcoal fire department, often at a discounted cost to residents.
The following are organizations and companies in Illinois which offer First Aid and/or CPR training:
Links of Interest
In Case of Emergency—ICE
The personal safety campaign known as ICE originated in the United Kingdom and urges the public to store a special emergency contact number in their cell phones under ICE “in case of emergency.” This simple action may assist first responders in quickly locating a responsible person to make decisions for anyone rendered unable to so during an emergency.
National Terror Alert Resource and Information Center
Geared to the needs of the general public, this web site provides free online homeland security resource guides with step-by-step instructions that demonstrate how to safeguard families before, after, and during a terrorist attack.
Ready.gov is the Department of Homeland Security’s public web site on emergency preparedness. It explains how to assemble emergency supplies and create a family communication plan and recommends actions for a variety of terrorist-related emergency situations.