10 lifesaving tips that absolutely everyone should be aware of in case of a disaster
In this crazy, unpredictable world, the best thing we can do to get by is to be prepared. And this applies in all sorts of ways: you want to be able to pay your bills at the end of the month? Prepare by keeping your savings separate to your spending money. Want to have a stress-free time on vacation? Pack your suitcase with all the necessary essentials. Want to avoid getting an earful from your other half about not taking the trash out? Do it before they even have to ask!
Of course, not all things are as easy to predict as rent payments or getting on the wrong side of your significant other - but there are still some steps you can follow to make sure you're ready for life's curveballs.
Here are 10 disaster readiness tips that will help you prepare for a real-life event:
1. Have a plan for the entire household
It's all very well and good knowing what you, personally, would do in an emergency - but what about your family members/roommates? Make sure everyone is on the same page about where to go and what to do during an emergency; that way you can delegate certain tasks and avoid treading on anyone's toes if you need to react to something quickly.
2. Set meeting points
If you've ever been in a building when a fire alarm has gone off, you'll know that the usual drill is to go and assemble somewhere a safe distance from the site. (And, if this has happened to you at a hotel, you may have had to do this in your PJs.) You should have the same system set up for your home and make sure everyone in the house knows where they are.
3. Organize an emergency support network
Dealing with a disaster can be stressful, but dealing with one alone is even worse. Try to assemble at least two people into a support group with you. These can be friends, neighbors, co-workers; anyone who would be able and willing to help you out. But also people that you would lend a helping hand to if they needed it.
4. Make sure you have enough supplies
Before you go bulk-buying Twinkies to last you till the end of days, think logically about this. If an emergency forces you to evacuate or stay in place, you'll need a supply of food that is nonperishable, reasonably nutritious, and able to withstand whatever emergency it is you're preparing for. Canned goods are perfect for this.
You'll also want to make sure everyone in your house has a "go bag": a small kit of things that a person can grab if they need to leave in a hurry. This should include water, cash, a first-aid kit, and of course some food.
5. Get insurance for your home/car
Not every disaster is going to be so severe that you will have to evacuate your home - but even small events can damage your property. Make sure you have the right insurance for anything of value, just to cover your back in case of something like vandalism or a break-in.
6. Ensure everybody's needs are catered to
Young children and those with disabilities may need more support during an emergency, so make sure everyone's needs are addressed in the event of a disaster. It may be helpful to provide everyone with emergency contact details for everyone else in their support group, just in case they get separated and need to get back in touch.
7. Run through your plan before it is necessary
Remember those fire alarms from earlier? How many times has it been for a practice drill? More times than you've experienced an actual fire. In the same vein, you should try to run through your emergency plan before you actually have to do it for real, just so you find out what will work and what needs to be fixed.
8. Be prepared to evacuate
Nobody likes to think that they might have to leave their home in case of a disaster, but it's a possibility you need to accept. Your home may be your safe space most of the time but you might have to find somewhere else to go and stay for a while.
9. Identify all exit routes from your home/neighborhood
This means being aware of everything from the patio doors to the quickest route out of your town or city. Time is of the essence in an emergency, and you don't want to waste any of it by waiting for your SatNav to try and work out which hemisphere it's in.
10. Stay informed
We love being “in the know” when things happen, especially an emergency. Take the time to sign up for free emergency alerts. In New York City, for example, New Yorkers can get information from the Notify NYC program through an app, website, and on Twitter.
Hopefully, you'll never have to face an extreme emergency in your lifetime. But, if you do, it never hurts to be prepared.