10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Prepared for an Emergency
Getting your family prepared for an emergency may seem like a huge task, but it's really not that unbearable if you break it down into little steps. Here are 10 things you can do right now to get started.
1. Research online preparedness sites.
Some examples include: "Be Red Cross Ready: Get a Kit. Make a Plan. Be Informed." Go to http://arcbrc.org/ view an interactive module to get you and your family started. What if Colorado - a statewide effort to educate Coloradans about the importance of emergency preparedness and public health READYColorado is Colorado's official source for homeland security and all-hazards preparedness information.
2. Make an emergency contact list.
Write down all the phone numbers you and your family will need in case of an emergency on paper. Make several copies to give to each family member, post by your phone(s), and place in your emergency kit. Make sure every family member, even the littlest ones, understand what each phone number is for and where to access the list.
3. Put an extra blanket, set of cold weather gear, and a snow shovel in your car.
Here in Colorado the weather is unpredictable, even in the summer the temperatures can dip at night. Make sure you and your family are prepared in case you get stuck in your car.
4. Designate an out-of-town contact.
In the case of a wide-spread emergency it is often difficult to make a phone call within or into the emergency area. To ensure that you and your family always have another way of getting information during an emergency, designate an out-of-town contact. This person should live far enough away from you (preferably out-of-state) that you are able to call out of the emergency area to contact them with updates. This is similar tot he American Red Cross' Safe and Well site online, where you can report your status during an emergency and others can check in on your wellbeing.
5. Make an evacuation plan.
Draw a map of your home and sit down with your family to plan out evacuation routes from each room in your home. You should have two escape routes out of every room. Make sure everyone in your family understands each escape route and knows the routes by heart.
6. Practice your evacuation plan.
Practice your plan to make sure that all of your routes are safe and accessible and to work out any kinks. Make sure to practice your finalized evacuation plan every couple of months with your family sot that it stays fresh in everyone's mind.
7. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.
You should test your smoke and CO alarms twice a year (when you change your clocks) to make sure that they are functioning and the batteries aren't dead.
8. Start an emergency kit.
Go to chaffeecounty.org under Departments - Emergency Management and click on the Citizen Emergency Preparedness Guide on the left side to find a list of items that are recommended for an emergency preparedness kit. Add one thing a week and you'll be well on your way.
9. Learn first aid and CPR.
As a part of being prepared, we recommend that at least one person in your home is trained in first aid and CPR/AED. Call Chaffee County EMS at 719-539-1914 to arrange for a class.
10. Share your preparedness knowledge and plan with friends and family.
The more prepared are as a community, the better able we'll all be able to cope with an emergency. Also think about people outside of your household who may need your help in a emergency. like elderly or disabled neighbors. Offer to help them get prepared or include them in your plan if you can.