Disaster Education and Awareness Month

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Working in the medical community, life often feels like one disaster after another.  But what if a true disaster were to occur?  Of course your workplace has a disaster plan in place to deal with everything from fires to tornados to bomb threats.  What about your home, though?  Have you taken the same precautions?  Do you know what you would do in the event of a disaster?  In honor of Disaster Education and Awareness Month, we have put together some tips for keeping yourself and your family safe.

The Red Cross has an easy to remember phrase, “get a kit, make a plan, stay informed”.  We figured that was the best place to start.

Get a kit:  You probably have a fire extinguisher in your house.  You probably know exactly where it is and how to use it, but what about a disaster kit?  A disaster kit is one of the most important things you can have in your house.  There are plenty of places to purchase a kit such as the Red Cross website, but you can always put one together yourself.  The most important thing to think about when putting together your kit is that you may be on your own for a few hours to a few days/weeks after a disaster.  You’ll need water, food, some basic household items and any personal documents or medications you can’t be without.  Ready.gov, the Red Cross and the CDC all have great lists for assembling your own kit.

Make a plan:  Disasters don’t always strike at convenient times.  Does your family know where to meet if you are separated during a disaster?  What about your roommates and friends?  Did you know that it’s sometimes easier to get a phone call out to an unaffected area?  Have a friend or relative in another city designated as the official check-in person.  That way if your friends and family are having a hard time making calls in the disaster area, you can get messages to each other.  For some great articles on making a plan, click here, here, and here.  Having a plan is just as important as having a kit.

Finally, stay informed:  You may not live in “Tornado Alley” or on the San Andreas Fault, but you still need to be prepared in the event of a disaster.  House fires can happen to anyone.  Dangerous storms can develop suddenly, and as we’ve all seen, terrorism can happen just about anywhere.  This doesn’t mean we should live in constant fear.  It just means that we need to know how to stay informed.  The most important thing is to know how to get official alerts.  With many of us using online streaming instead of watching live TV, or listening to satellite radio, we need to think about ways to keep ourselves informed.  Yes, the alerts on our phones are annoying and we’ve considered shutting them off before. (Do we really need to know about a wind advisory for the lake an hour away???)  But the truth is, it could save our life or the lives of our friends or family.  Consider investing in a NOAA Weather Radio as another way to stay informed.  It may be old school but sometimes old school is the best school.  For more information on staying informed including a description of the difference between a “Watch” and a “Warning” check out this article from the CDC, or this one from the Red Cross that recommends creating Emergency Contact Cards for all family members.

It may seem like a pain in the behind, but the truth is that a little planning could save your life, or the lives of your loved ones.  What about you?  What disaster preparedness steps have you taken?  Do you have a story of a time you were thankful you’d taken the time to get prepared?  We wanna hear about it!  Post to our Facebook page, our Twitter (@tafford) or Instagram (@taffordscurbs).

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