Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Basic Preparedness Checklist

The task of emergency and home preparedness can be extremely overwhelming if you think about the whole thing at once.

Becoming prepared, whether spiritually or physically, is a process, not an event.

I had several checklists from varying sources lying around.
So... I combined them all to make a Preparedness Checklist to help me evaluate my strengths and weaknesses.

This is a pretty basic list, and I hope to cover most of these in better detail later, but this is a good tool for giving you a better idea of where you stand.
Try picking one question at a time (or one category), until you feel you've met the needs of you and your family.

I have separated the questions into the following categories:
Creating an Emergency Plan
Local Preparedness
Fire Safety
Prepare a Supplies Kit
Prepare an Emergency Car Kit
Home Evacuation
Home Protection
Natural Disasters
Communication
Prolonged Emergencies

Some questions are used more than once since they overlap categories, but you get the idea...

Creating an Emergency Plan:
  1. Meet with household members.  Discuss with children the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes and other emergencies.
  2. Discuss how to respond to each disaster that could occur.
  3. Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
  4. Draw a floor plan of your home.  Mark two escape routes from each room.
  5. Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones.
  6. Teach children how and when to call 911, police and fire.
  7. Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
  8. Teach children how to make long distance telephone calls in case they need to call the out-of-state contact.
  9. Pick two meeting places: 1 near your home in case of a fire, and one outside of your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.
  10. Take a basic first aid and CPR class.
  11. Keep family records in a water and fire-proof container.
Local Preparedness:
(Call your emergency management office or American Red Cross for help)
  1. Find out what disasters could occur in your area.
  2. Ask how to prepare for each disaster.
  3. Ask how you would be warned of an emergency.
  4. Learn your community's evacuation routes.
  5. Ask about special assistance for elderly or disabled persons.
  6. Ask your workplace / school / day care about emergency plans.
Fire Safety:
  1. Plan two escape routes out of each room.
  2. Teach family members to stay low to the ground when escaping from a fire.
  3. Teach family members never to open doors that are hot.  In a fire, feel the bottom of the door with the palm of your hand.  If it is hot, do not open the door.  Find another way out.
  4. Install smoke detectors. Clean and test smoke detectors once a month.  Change batteries t least once a year.
  5. Keep a whistle in each bedroom to awaken household members in case of a fire.
  6. Check electrical outlets.  Do not overload outlets.
  7. Purchase a fire extinguisher (5lb., A-B-C type).
  8. Have a coolapsible ladder on each upper floor of your house.
  9. Consider installing home sprinklers.
Prepare a Supplies Kit:
Assemble supplies you might need in an evacuation.  Store items in an easy to carry container such as a backpack or duffle bag.  
Include the following:
  1. A supply of water
  2. A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.
  3. A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
  4. Blankets or sleeping bags.
  5. A first aid kit and prescription medications.
  6. An extra pair of glasses/contacts.
  7. A battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
  8. Credit cards and cash.
  9. An extra set of car keys.
  10. A list of family physicians.
  11. A list of important family information; the style and serial number of medical devices such as pacemakers.
  12. Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.
  13. Personal hygiene items.
Prepare an Emergency Car Kit:
Include the following:
  1. Battery powered radio and extra batteries
  2. Flashlight and extra batteries
  3. Blanket
  4. Booster cables
  5. Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
  6. First aid kit and manual
  7. Bottled water and non-perishable high energy foods such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter.
  8. Maps
  9. Shovel
  10. Tire repair kit ad pump
  11. Flares
Home Evacuation:
  1. Has your family rehearsed fire escape routes from your home?
  2. Do you have working smoke alarms in the proper places to warn you of fire?
  3. Draw a floor plan of your home.  Mark two escape routes from each room.
  4. Do you have access to an operational flashlight in every occupied bedroom? (The use of candles is not recommended unless you are sure there is no leaking gas).
  5. Do you keep shoes near your bed to protect your feet against broken glass?
  6. Do you have duplicate keys and copies of important insurance and other papers stored outside your home?
  7. If you and your family had to evacuate, have you identified an outside meeting place?
  8. Do you have access to a 72 hour evacuation kit?
  9. Do you have a first aid kit included in your 72 hour kit and in each car?
  10. Do you have emergency cash on hand?  (During emergencies Banks and ATM's are closed).
  11. Do you have a battery powered radio so you can follow instructions of local officials to emergency shelter locations?
  12. Do you have protective clothing and sturdy shoes available for each member of the family?
  13. Don't forget to lock your house.
  14. If able to, let others know when you left and where you are going.
  15. Make arrangements for pets.  Animals may not be allowed in public shelters.
  16. Use travel routes specified by local officials.
Home Protection:
  1. If a water line was ruptured or contaminated do you know how to shut off the main water line to your house?
  2. Can this water valve be turned off by hand without the use of a tool?  Do you have a tool if one is needed?
  3. Do you know where the main gas shut-off valve to your house is located?
  4. If you smell gas do you know how to shut off the valve?  Do you have the proper tool(s)?
  5. Do you know how to safely restart your furnace when gas is safely available?
  6. Do you have working smoke alarms in the proper places to warn you of fire? 
  7. In case of a minor fire, do you have a fire extinguisher that you know how to operate? (The fire department will test yours for free)
Natural Disasters:
  1. Does your family know what to do before, during and after an earthquake or other emergency situation? (See first part of the phone book yellow pages)
  2. Do you have heavy objects hanging over beds that can fall during an earthquake?
  3. Do you have access to an operational flashlight in every occupied bedroom? (The use of candles is not recommended unless you are sure there is no leaking gas).
  4. Do you keep shoes near your bed to protect your feet against broken glass?
  5. Without electricity and gas do you have the means to heat at least part of your house? (Think of ways to cover broken windows).
Communication:
  1. Do you have a functional emergency radio to receive emergency information?
  2. Have you established an out of state contact?
  3. Have you established a local contact?
  4. Have you established a 'nearest relative' contact?
  5. Does each member of your family have access to these numbers?  As well as family phone numbers for the home, cell, work, school, physicians, etc.
  6. If all communication is unavailable, have you established reunion locations?  Start with one right outside of your home, and then another away from the neighborhood.
Prolonged Emergencies:
(If an emergency lasted for three days (72 hours) before help was available to you and your family)
  1. Would you have sufficient food?
  2. Would you have the means to cook food without gas and electricity?
  3. Would you have sufficient water for drinking, cooking and sanitary needs?
  4. Do you have access to a 72 hour evacuation kit?  For each member of your family?
  5. Would you be able to carry/transport these kits?
  6. Do you have a first aid kit in your home and in each car?
  7. Do you have work gloves and some tools for minor rescue and clean-up?
  8. Do you have emergency cash on hand?  (During emergencies Banks and ATM's are closed).
  9. If you need medications, do you have a month's supply on hand?
  10. Without electricity and gas do you have the means to heat at least part of your house? (Think of how to cover broken windows).
  11. Do you have a plan for toilet facilities if there were an extended water shortage?
  12. Do you have a supply of food, slothing and fuel where appropriate?  For 2 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, a year?

No comments: