Disasters happen, but are you and your family prepared in case one occurs? Here are 5 guidelines for creating an emergency plan for your family and pets.
1. Evacuation Plan
When creating an emergency plan for your family and pets start with an evacuation plan for your home. Make sure your family knows all the escape routes for each room in your house. If you have a two story home, it’s recommended to have an emergency ladder; they sell foldable ladders for around $40. Be sure to practice these routes especially with small children. Establish a meeting place outside the house and around the neighborhood in case of an emergency. Make sure small children know what to do during each scenario including fire, earthquake, tornado etc. Each plan will be different to each disaster, make sure they know what to do and how to do it safely. Most accidents during emergencies are caused by unorganized chaos and panic.
When planning your emergency plan for your family, make sure to have extra provisions designated for emergencies, including; water, batteries, a radio, flashlights, and dry foods. Be sure to have proper clothing, important documents including medical records, emergency contacts, a first aid kit, sunscreen, lip balm, any medications, a supply of cash, and a full tank of gas. A map of your neighborhood is a great source for alternative emergency routes. Also make sure to have an emergency bag designated for pets needs as well including an extra bag of food, any medications needed, treats, toys, leashes, collars and also have a crate available to keep your pet safely secured. Also a supply of training pads are great to have just in case you are not able to take your pet outside.
When an emergency arrives panic ensues and that’s when you don’t think about what is important to bring with you. When packing up your cars in an emergency be sure to bring plenty of clothes as you don’t know how long you will be away from your home. Pack valuables such as jewelry, artwork, and family photographs and yearbooks. Items such as DVD’s and most books can be easily replaced, memories can’t. It is suggested before an emergency happens to have a file of all your items for insurance purposes. Also be sure to pack extra blankets, pillows, and sleeping bags if you don’t know where you are staying. Women, be sure to pack extra feminine and personal hygiene products. Be sure to bring chargers for electronics such as cell phones as you don’t want to be left stranded with no battery.
4. Finding Shelter
During most emergencies there are designated shelters set up, but these tend to fill up quickly and can get low on supplies fast. If you have a pet you might want to research beforehand motels or shelters that allow animals. During most emergencies motels will not charge extra for pets and are very accommodating. If these aren’t an option be sure you have an emergency contact such as a friend, or family member nearby whom you can stay with. Always be mindful of your emergency plan for your family and pets and make sure your emergency contact is willing to put you up. They should be reliable, and someone who is normally in town, if not make sure to have a spare key and permission before entering.
5. Stay Calm
During emergencies although you are in a high pressure situation you must remember to stay calm and level headed. Especially around children and pets, if you start to panic they will sense it and create more chaos than needed when making your evacuation. Take a deep breath, create mental checklists making sure you have what is needed and get everyone out quickly and safely.
Be sure to practice your family emergency plan yearly and update it when necessary. Have all emergency essential items in an easily accessible place. Make sure children are aware and remember the emergency plan and know what to do if they are alone. Have all of your pet’s emergency gear packed and ready in advance to easily grab. Being prepared during an emergency will help guarantee your family and pet’s safety.