September 2010 is officially National Preparedness Month, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If you haven’t yet prepared your family emergency plan, now’s a good time, and we have some tips for you.
- Identify the most likely risks in your area. While many emergencies require the same basic preparedness, you should know specific responses to different kinds of emergency events. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, wildfire, animal attacks, riots, power outages, automobile accidents…
- Will you go or will you stay? This depends on where you live and what kind of emergency is threatening. Even if you already live in your preferred BOL (bugout location), you might choose to leave if a hurricane is coming; on the other hand, you might choose to hunker down for a blizzard. Urban dwellers tend to run for the hills, and I can understand why.
- How’s your network? Like-minded friends and family are your greatest resource in times of need. Ask around and find out who’s a prepper, then learn from them. Learn more about hooking into an emergency preparedness network.
Basic Family Emergency Plan
- Compile your biometric information. Prepare ID cards for every individual in your family. The cards should record the names, ages, and description of everyone in the family; home address; contact information; and known medical conditions.
- Identify an out-of-town contact. This is your go-to contact in the survival network; maybe you have more than one — even better. My go-to friend and I have everything already worked out; if he needs to bug out and get his family to safety, he knows he can come here. Even if I’m not home, he knows where the key is.
- Identify an emergency meeting place. This is something that needs constant updating. If you’re on vacation out of state, you’ll need a new meeting place nearby. For instance, if you’re playing golf while the kids are on the beach with your wife, you might specify a nearby Wal-Mart, or maybe the house of a cousin who lives in the area.
- Establish your communications protocol. Our hierarchy is as follows:
- Phone. I know, I know, in an emergency the cell phone network will likely get overloaded, so you need a backup. But it’s still the first thing I’ll try because it’s the fastest way to communicate if you do get through. Tip: If the cell phones don’t work, try texting.
- Ham radio. Coverage is much better than the cell phone network, and it’s easy to get a license. Learn more about the American Radio Relay League, including how to obtain a license.
- Email. This is a clunkier way to communicate, but many smart phones now have email applications that “push” your email to the phone as soon as it is sent.
- Prepare an emergency kit. See a list of recommended items here and here.
- Practice emergency evacuations. Home evac drills are usually fun, but for the very young they can be scary. Break your toddlers in gently or they’ll hate it. Make it a game at first, and as they get older they’ll naturally absorb its importance. When you visit a hotel or department store, make a habit of spotting the emergency exits.
- Identify your local emergency notification services. Search the internet for your local Office of Emergency Management and sign up for alert services. Tip: do an internet search for “local alert services” and “emergency alert services.”
Advanced Emergency Planning
After you have a basic plan in place, you should prepare more in depth for a wide variety of emergency situations. If you’re not already a subscriber to Survival News Online, sign up for your Free Top Ten Survival Tips. We respect your email privacy; we’ll never share your information with anyone, and you can withdraw anytime. Even if you don’t sign up, feel free to browse our growing list of Survival Plans for various emergencies.