Japan’s warning: are you prepared?
Today the world awoke to the news that the largest ever earthquake (8.9 on the Richter scale) had hit Japan. A huge Tsunami followed quickly after, devastating low-lying areas in Japan and threatening homes as far away as Hawaii and Northern California.
A tragedy a world away reminds us that we are all vulnerable to natural disasters.
Here in the US, we have faced record rainfall and flooding and huge snowstorms this year. With hurricane and tornado season just around the corner, now is the perfect time to take a quick look at your own emergency preparedness and go over the most important items you will need in case disaster strikes.
To really be ready for an emergency you need to design an emergency plan and then communicate that plan to family. Elements of an emergency plan are: who to contact in and out of state; where to meet at home or away from home (like when disaster hits during school hours). And practice your home’s escape routes. Here’s our free downloadable Emergency Plan checklist to make it even easier for you: http://getbuttonedup.com/2010/09/tool-free-printable-emergency-checklist/
Every family should have an emergency kit. Imagine running from your home with only the clothes on your back. Now imagine what you would want in your emergency kit to survive for a couple of days to one week. Be sure your kit contains the basics (water, first aid kit, cash, food, batteries) but also room for your Life.doc; important papers/photos and digital images on a thumb drive, extra medications and glasses; pet and baby supplies. For more information, visit www.ready.gov for a full emergency kit checklist.
If you had to evacuate your home, would you be able to quickly locate important information, like insurance information, important legal documents, and medical records so that you could take them with you? If you answered no, take a few minutes in the next few days to organize a binder, like the Life.doc (http://getbuttonedup.com/our-products/all-products/life-doc/) with your most important information.
Most cities have evacuation routes already mapped out. But do you know what they are? Do you know of alternative routes in case those roads are closed? It is important to have this figured out well in advance and have maps in all your vehicles. A gassed up car and water/food in the car is also essential! We all remember the road jams when Houston last evacuated for a hurricane!
Don’t forget to check on your neighbors, especially the ill or elderly. They may need your help to get to a safe place or to just check their home after a disaster to make sure all is well. Know where the shelters are in your area and the best way to get there! Assist your neighbor in creating their emergency plan and kit. Be a part of it if it is clear they cannot do it alone.
A disaster can happen at any time. Be ready for it.