Written by Sophia Ege, Communications Volunteer
As fall weather rolls in, images of sweaters, red and brown leaves, and pumpkin carving come to mind. Unfortunately, fall also brings flu risks, increased instances of home fires, and other safety issues that can disrupt a home or community, such as a power outage on a cold night or a bad thunderstorm.
In the event of a natural disaster or emergency, will your family know how to respond? Below are resources and preparedness tips from the Red Cross to help you keep your family, your pets, and your home safe this season.
#1 Discuss Safety Planning With Your Family
Is your family aware of the many types of disasters there are, and the preparedness steps they can take? Start the conversation about safety planning now. You may want to ask these questions:
- What types of emergencies are most likely to occur in our area?
- What will we do if we get separated in an emergency?
- What will we do if we have to evacuate our home?
- Will anyone in the family need special accommodation?
- How will we let loved ones know we’re safe?
Families that can answer these questions stay better informed and know what responsibilities are theirs to take on so that if a disaster strikes, they can work together as a team to prepare for, withstand, and overcome it.
For family members who wish to be even more prepared, we recommend taking a CPR and First Aid class with us. Families with children are also encouraged to discuss disaster safety and fire safety for kids.
#2 Make a Disaster Preparedness Plan
- Build a Plan The Red Cross website is a great resource with downloadable templates to help you and your family build an emergency plan and practice it together, so everyone will know what to do in a crisis. It is important that you work on your emergency plan together, so each family member can understand what to expect and what role they have in an emergency.
- Talk With Your Children About Safety As you build your plan, you may want to think about household safety and preparedness for children. Children face unique challenges in the chaos or complexity of an emergency, and knowing what to expect can help replace fear with confidence. With resources such as Prepare with Pedro, an activity book that helps teach safety and preparedness, children can enjoy learning what steps they can take to keep themselves, their loved ones, and their home safe.
- Create a Disaster Kit One activity you may enjoy doing as a family is to create a disaster kit.This kit should have enough supplies to last at least 72 hours, which is the time it may take for help to arrive. This kit should be placed in an area of your home that is easy for you to access.
- Download an Emergency Preparedness App Did you know, the Red Cross also has an emergency preparedness app? Emergency apps help you stay in-the-know with alerts and preparedness tips.
#3 Practice Your Disaster Preparedness Plan
Now that you have discussed disaster safety planning with your family and built a disaster action plan, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test! Practicing preparedness is one of the strongest methods for encouraging safety and confidence throughout your home or community.
Put Your Disaster Preparedness Plan Into Action!
- Ask each family member about what they will do, where they will go, and who they will contact in the event of an emergency.
- Practice safety drills based on the most common emergencies in your area. For instance, we recommend that all families should practice fire drills and test their smoke detectors monthly.
- Each room in your house should have at least two exit routes. Have your family members walk through these exit routes with you.
- Fill in the gaps. Find out what questions you or your loved ones still have about preparedness and what you can do to stay informed and prepared.
Be Red Cross Ready with us by staying informed, building an emergency kit, creating a disaster action plan, and practicing it with your family. We look forward to celebrating safety with you this season.
Want to learn more about what the Red Cross is doing in your neighborhood? Sign up for our newsletter, visit our website at www.redcross.org, or help change lives with a donation!