Posted on April 4, 2011 at 1:58 PM
Seattle Children's Hospital Pediatrician and Mama Doc blogger Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, talks about the importance of creating a disaster plan, a communications plan and a disaster kit that encompasses the entire family. Her talking points are below.
Why prepare now?
· The recent disaster in Japan was a wake-up call for all of us, reminding us that we are also at high risk for natural disasters.
· The time to prepare is now - before emergency strikes.
What can families do to prepare?
· I believe in the 3-tier approach to emergency preparedness:
o Make a Plan to communicate and find your family
o Make a Kit
o Stay Informed. Know what other disasters are likely to happen and where to find information.
· You’ll feel better with each step you take and everything you do to prepare your family.
Before you show us how to build a disaster preparedness kit, can you tell us a little more about how to make a communications plan?
· When making a plan, I’d recommend getting your whole family involved in the process. Work as a team. Make the process fun.
· Talk about why you need a disaster plan, the types of disasters you’re preparing for, and the types of disasters most likely to occur at your home and in our geographic regions.
· A few key things you’ll need in your plan:
o Designate a meeting place.
o Determine evacuation routes.
o Determine how you will communicate with one another in the event of a disaster.
o Know emergency contact numbers.
· Familiarize yourself with your city and county’s emergency action plans and know your children’s school’s disaster plans.
· Remember to plan for your pets. Prepare now for the day when you and your pets may have to leave your home.
· And then, of course, practice and review your plan often.
Let’s get to the disaster preparedness kit. What are the kit essentials?
· First, go buy two, 20 gallon plastic or Rubbermaid type containers with lids. Once you have those, you’ll have a place to organize your emergency gear.
· Make some REFRESH cards. Keep a list on top of your emergency kit of what items need to be replenished and when.
· If you can afford a pre-made family 3-Day Emergency kit buy it online today. Then add additional items like wrenches, fire extinguishers, medications, etc.
· Water: 3 gallons per person or animal. That’s a gallon a day for 3 days for everyone. This is the most important thing you have in your kit. You’ll need a little more for breast-feeding mothers. Pay attention to expiration dates.
· Food: Buy canned, high-calorie foods that will feed your family for 3 days. And some comfort foods like chocolate or candy.
· First Aid Kit
· Tools: Must have tools - a wrench for turning off your gas line and a can opener.
· Clothing: A complete change of clothing and shoes for each family member.
· Documents: Copies of important family documents in a waterproof bag.
· Entertainment: Age appropriate items like a deck of cards, coloring books, and stuffed animals.
How long will it take to build this kind of kit and plan, and how much does it cost?
· Kit building will cost you some cash. I spent somewhere between $300-$350 getting my home and family prepared.
· And, well over 15 hours. You’re not going to be able to do this in one day.
· You’ll need a trip to the grocery store, the hardware store, the bank, the pharmacy and possibly the doctor’s office, and then lots of conversations with those in your family so you are all clear about a communication plan.
· You really want to have a plan to reunite your family in the case of an emergency.
Where can people find out more about emergency preparedness?
· On my Seattle Mama Doc blog, I recently wrote a post about emergency preparedness.