The 123HELP APP features an Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP) that is available for download. It’s focused on property damage prevention and recovery. Downloading and completing your EPP will help minimize property damage and speed up the repair and restoration process when property damage strikes.
This article is about your family preparedness.
Your Family Emergency Preparedness Plan, as the title suggests, is about protecting human life (including pets). Creating your family emergency preparedness plan will reduce the recovery time if a disaster strikes. Families that prepare are in control of the situation rather than just being victims, and they may even be able to help others. Families that prepare also experience less stress when property damage strikes.
There are common types of disasters that could strike the Phoenix area. As you review the list of potential disasters, understand that they share similar challenges, yet each disaster brings specific problems too.
Dust Storms Extended
Heat Wave with a Power Outage Wildfires
Earthquakes (are rare in the Phoenix area, but they do happen)
Structural Water Damage
Active Shooter and others
Unlike man-caused disasters, many natural disasters, such as Monsoons, flooding, dust storms, and others, are weather-driven and can be predicted. State and county agencies provide weather and storm warnings and alerts that allow you and your family to prepare, to act, and that raises a few questions:
How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
What is my shelter plan?
What is my evacuation route?
What is my family/household communication plan?
Do I need to update my emergency kit?
Do I have the necessary financial resources?
Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes. That’s why you must decide how to contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a primary family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find. Have a secondary meeting location if your primary site is damaged or inaccessible.
- Establish Meeting Locations
- Develop an Emergency Contact Plan
- Practice Your Meetup Plan With Your Family
If one or more family members fail to meet up, the federal government has established an agency to help locate persons who become separated from a family. The resource is the National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System. https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/4635
Always Consider the Specific Needs in Your Household:
As you prepare your plan, think about how to customize it and the supplies to your specific daily living needs. Discuss how people in your network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or special needs like operating medical equipment.
Factors to consider when developing Your Family Emergency Preparedness Plan:
- Ages of members within your household
- Responsibilities for assisting others
- Dietary needs
- Medical needs/prescriptions
- Disabilities requiring access to devices and equipment
– Should your family own or have access to a generator with an adequate fuel supply to operate medical equipment for three to five days?
- Cultural and religious considerations
- Pets or service animals
The list of questions and items to consider about creating your family’s emergency plan may seem overwhelming. Good news. There are many helpful resources available to simplify your planning process.
A Survival Kit Is a Vital part of Being Prepared for a Disaster.
Following an emergency, you may need to survive for several days. The Red Cross, FEMA, and other agencies state that having a Survival Kit is necessary. Supply kits are a collection of essential items your household may need in an emergency; when assembling your family’s survival kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supply kit into one or two easy-to-carry containers, such as plastic bins or a duffel bag. A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
- Water (one gallon per person per day for several days for drinking and sanitation)
- Food (at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food)
– Always date label all perishable food in your kit
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio, and NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
- Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
- Manual can opener (for food)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
Additional Emergency Supplies
- Masks, soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces
- Prescription medicines: It may not be easy to refill prescriptions or find an open pharmacy during an emergency.
- Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, or laxatives
- Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
- Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Cash or traveler’s checks
- Important family documents, such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records, saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles
After assembling your kit, remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:
- Keep canned food in a cool, dry place (date label)
- Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers.
- Replace expired items as needed.
- Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.
Kit Storage Locations
Since you don’t know where you will be when an emergency strikes, prepare supplies for home, work, and cars.
- Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready if you leave your house quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is stored.
- Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water, and other necessities like medicines and comfortable walking shoes stored in a “grab and go” case.
- Car: keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides excellent advice on preparing for, surviving, and recovering from all kinds of disasters. They offer an excellent series of two-page information sheets from the FEMA Online Ordering Site. https://orders.gpo.gov/icpd/ICPD
A wealth of planning information can be found on the FEMA Online ordering site; the 123HELP App Team has selected the titles of the two-page info sheets that apply to residents of the Phoenix, Arizona area:
Be Prepared for an Active Shooter
Be Prepared for a Cyber Attacks
Be Prepared for an Earthquake
Be Prepared for Extreme Heat
Be Prepared for a Flood
Be Prepared for a Power Outage
Be Prepared for a Thunderstorm, Lighting, or Hail
Be Prepared for a Wildfire
After a property damage event has occurred, there will be honest people and legitimate groups who will offer help. Unfortunately, disaster-chasing criminals may also show up to try to scam you. Watch out for people who charge a fee to help you file a claim. Be aware of repair contractors who offer a deep discount but demand a hefty upfront payment. Be cautious of scam charity groups that use names that sound like government agencies or people who pose as government agents.
The 123HELP APP lists ethical contractors who provide emergency repair services. These are the types of companies that you can rely upon during an emergency. Honest contractors will provide written estimates, show proof of insurance, and set up a reasonable payment schedule. They will also be approved or recognized vendors for insurance companies.
Additional FEMA Information
FEMA has written many other articles in addition to the Be Prepared series. The following content is worthy of your attention and is available at ready.gov/sites
– Safeguard Critical Documents and Valuables
– Emergency Financial First Aid Kit
FEMA has also produced several short and informative videos about disaster preparedness titled, Make-A-Plan. You can find these videos on Youtube. “Make-A-Plan videos.”
Creating a family preparedness plan requires effort. That may be why most families aren’t adequately prepared for a disaster. Families that invest in the time to plan and assemble emergency supplies almost always reduce the impact of a disaster and recover more quickly. At 123HELP APP LLC., we encourage you to make a family preparedness plan.