By Brian Duff
What Is Disaster Preparedness for Families?
Disaster preparedness for families doesn’t require rocket science. What it does require is planning, implementation, and training. When completed, proper disaster preparedness for families helps people prepare both mentally and physically for challenging emergency and disaster situations.
Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance
Making a plan establishes a baseline for you to operate from when disaster strikes. To establish this baseline, you must first identify the potential risks facing you and your family. Once you’ve identified the various emergency and disaster scenarios, you need to think through as many potential responses as possible. With your potential responses thought out, you will be set to create your plan.
Creating your plan is the meat and potatoes of improving your family’s safety and security. The first step to creating your plan is to review your potential responses and consolidate those into an action plan. One key to creating your action plan is to keep it flexible so you can efficiently respond to changing and unpredictable situations.
Another key is to ensure your family understands what to do if separated when an emergency or disaster happens. Separated family members need to know how to get ahold of each other and should consider disruptions to communication systems. Depending on the situation’s size, they should also know how to get to pre-selected local and distant meet-up locations.
Lastly, with your plan set, you need to determine what supplies are essential to your success. Once you know what you need, you’ll need to know how much is needed. After all, planning for a Hurricane Katrina-type event does you no good if you don’t have enough food and clean water to last for several days.
Implementation is critical to ensuring your plan runs as smooth as possible. The most important aspect of plan preparation is discussing it with your family. When reviewing the plan, you need to talk about the various types of disasters that may affect your family.
You will also need to explain why the plan is necessary. Doing so will help everyone understand why you are planning and preparing. Keep in mind, when discussing this with your children, it is important that you avoid scaring them. Also, don’t forget to ask for your family’s feedback about the plan. You just never know—they may add an excellent idea.
Another important part of implementation is to discuss your plan with others whom you may rely upon during an emergency or disaster. For example, if your plan includes heading to Uncle Bill’s house in the mountains, you may want to discuss it with him first. When doing so, you will resolve potential problems and possibly identify ones you didn’t know existed.
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. ~ Aristotle
Once your plan is ready to go, it’s time for you to train, train, and train some more. Training provides you with the opportunity to test and evaluate your plan. As you do so, your family will also become more familiar with it. When they do, they will be better able to deal with the situation when it happens.
Remember, when training, you should follow the crawl, walk, run philosophy. Begin your training by talking through the plan and asking your family questions about the details of the plan. Doing so will reinforce the plan in everyone’s mind. Next, conduct a walkthrough of the plan so everybody sees it unfold in slow motion.
Finally, practice the plan at a safe but faster pace with less warning. The trick is to ratchet up the stress, so when a real event happens, everyone is ready to leap into action.
Don’t forget to practice with any supplies and equipment that are part of your plan. After all, waiting until a disaster happens to find out that you don’t know how to use your supplies and equipment exposes you and your family to increased risk. It’s a risk that is easy to overcome with little effort. So, make it happen.
Lastly, never forget, you’re just one prep away.
If you have any other information, suggestions, or thoughts about disaster preparedness for families, please leave a comment below.
Stay safe, secure and prepared.