and convenient steps you can take to protect parents and children
living on their own, but who can't or wont prepare for
themselves. This is especially important if they have limitations.
Power outages, fires, floods,
earthquakes, wind, and storms can interrupt utilities, phones, stores,
ATMs, and travel. They can be forced to leave their home because of
flooding, sewage backflow, fire, chemical accident, or terrorist
threat. This is an
inexpensive common sense preparation document.
The large disaster relief
organizations can provide basic relief for a lot of people, but need a
few days to get set up. It would be good if your loved ones could
handle problems on
their own for 3 days to a week. Assume that no medications or supplies
will be available.
Don't buy any survival kits or
anything you are not familiar with. After the power goes out is not the
time to try something out. Don't waste your money buying "special
survival food". It will probably get old before its needed.
This is not a complete guide
to preparation; it is only to give you a starting place. Experience,
training and special equipment provide better preparation. And nothing
is better than common sense (which doesn't seem to be very common).
Copyright 2005-2017 Ken
All rights reserved.
This document may be freely
redistributed for educational purposes at no charge in unaltered form.
This information is for
educational purposes only. There is no guarantee of any kind that it is
accurate, or that no harm will come to anyone who uses it.
This information is
provided on an "as is" basis with absolutely no warranty or guarantee.
The information is not necessarily correct, complete, or suitable for
any particular use. The entire risk is with you. Should harm arise from
using this information, you assume responsibility for all damages and
injuries. In no event shall the copyright holder, or any other party,
be liable for compensation or damages arising from the use, misuse,
failure to use, or inability to use this information.
Why most planning is simple
Most people do the wrong thing when
confronted with a disaster. This is their first time in the situation,
they aren't ready for it, and they need to decide what to do under
stress. Most often, they choose incorrectly, compounding the problem.
Making simple plans and preparations
that can be used for any disaster, large or small improves your
situation a great deal.
Preparation for them
- Motivate them to make a
travel bag. This is everything they need for an overnighter or a
week-long vacation (except clothes) in one small bag. Travel bags save
an hour of frustrating rounding stuff up every time they want to
spend the night somewhere.
- Try to get them to keep zip-kits.
- Make an evacuation plan that includes a list of what to
bring. Tape it inside a cabinet door.
- Make an evacuation
the disaster makes them leave home.
- What if they can't walk far or carry things? Make appropriate
evacuation plans for them.
- Pick two out-of-area relatives
who messages could be left with in case of separation. Pick relatives
most family members would know the phone number of. Tell the family
members to leave messages there in case of separation.
- How will you communicate with them if the phones are down?
Provide a way if possible.
- Do they have any special needs, like medicine, mobility devices,
or service animals? What if these aren't available? Make appropriate
- Do they depend on life-sustaining medicine, equipment or
treatment? If so, talk to the service provider about emergency plans,
both shelter-in-place and evacuation.
- Some emergency management offices keep lists of people with
functional needs. Make sure they know about your loved ones if
Preparation for their home
- Make sure they know how to turn off
water, gas, and electricity.
- Install a smoke detector and
a carbon monoxide detector. Keep
the batteries fresh. Most houses have smoke detectors; the ones that do
not have most of the fires. Inspectors find that 1/3 of all smoke
detectors have missing batteries.
- Test the smoke alarms regularly to ensure they make a loud beep
when needed. Fire departments recommend doing this monthly.
- Make sure there are enough
blankets for a cold night with no heat.
- Put a fire extinguisher rated
for grease in the kitchen. Shake the fire extinguishers every 6 months
to keep the powder from caking.
- Clean the gutters annually.
- Anchor water heaters, fuel oil
& cabinets to the wall to prevent toppling.
- Put foam sleeves over exposed
- Drop off a home
for riding out disasters at home.
- If they have limited mobility, ensure a clear exit path to the
door. Secure furnishings so they won't topple. Restack possessions away
from the exit path.
- If they have mobility impairments, keep some heavy gloves in
strategic locations. Many disasters put broken glass all over the
place. The gloves can help them negotiate this hazard.
- People with mobility impairments can't get out of the house quick
in a fire, so get the flammable stuff out of the house. Ask the fire
department to tell you what to get rid of.
- Encourage them to buy appropriate insurance.
- Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers - police, fire, and
rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; family, friends
and co-workers; etc. - and program them into their phones.
- Store the number of a person to contact in their phone book under
ICE (In Case of Emergency) so authorities know who to call in an
emergency. Emergency personnel know to look for this.
- You may be able to get locator service for your family's cell
- Educate yourself about
issues before a crisis occurs. If you need insurance, you probably
won't be in the right frame of mind to carefully research how to not be
taken advantage of. One web site dedicated to this is http://www.disasterprepared.net/
(this listing is not an endorsement).
- Assume your loved ones will risk their lives for their pets, and
may care for their pets better than themselves. Plan for this by
providing for the pet. This means providing for them to shelter in
place for a week or two, and also providing a way to evacuate the pet
- If necessary, make a hat or vest that can be worn over a jacket
to communicate vital information, like "legally blind", "hard of
hearing" or "Excitable under stress, put me in a quiet place".
- Exchange important keys and lock combinations.
Your loved one's preparation needs
Go over this list once a year to make sure they are still prepared.