An emergency is a sudden danger to life, health, personal property, or environment. Whether it is a natural disaster, technological hazard, viral pandemic, or personal accident, preparing for the unexpected is essential. Recognizing potential hazards and risks, is the first step in taking effective measures to protect yourself, your family, and the community around you. If you prepare, plan, and stay informed, you can keep the emergency from becoming a tragedy. Emergency preparedness can be easy if you identify potential risks before they occur. Planning ahead, staying informed, and making a plan for what to do during the emergency can save lives.
It is important to identify personal, or natural emergencies which could occur. Recognizing natural disasters that are common to the area in which you live is the first step. First aid kits are a necessity in both kinds of emergency. Be informed on the method of emergency notification your community uses. Whether it is television, radio, or siren, you need to be aware of the system for each emergency. Developing a family emergency plan is essential for physical and emotional well-being. Because there are different types of emergencies, plans need to be differentiated for each one. Being prepared with a plan, keeps you focused, and better able to react properly during specific emergencies. The plan for each emergency should focus on what to do just before, if there is any advanced warning, during the emergency situation, and after the emergency is over. Knowing whether to stay in your home, or evacuate will be indicated by the local emergency notification system, and will indicate your options for protection.
Preparing for emergencies does not mean that you are expecting to experience a disaster, it means that you will be prepared in case of emergency. Emergency preparedness can be accomplished in small steps, and does not have to be overwhelming. You can buy things a little at a time along the way, making sure that you have a plan on where to store emergency items. Non-perishable items, water, and first aid or emergency kits are essential, and may be assembled along the way. Because there are usually no modern conveniences in a natural disaster emergency, you will need batteries for flashlights, radios, and anything else that you would use electricity for. Manual can openers, and scissors will be necessary for food preparation. Lists for emergency preparedness are a good idea to work on with the family, so that each member is focused on the plan. A cell phone with an extra battery, or even a whistle is a good idea in case you need to signal for help.
When an emergency occurs, if you have planned adequately, you will not only have a better chance of surviving, but may also be able to help others. It is important to maximize emergency preparedness awareness in communities also. Resources are published by the American Red Cross, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the National Safety Council. There are free first aid classes to attend in your community, and you should know the specific emergency plans at work and school also. Family preparedness should not be a scary procedure, it should be comforting to know that you will have a better chance of staying safe with these few precautions and preparations.