November 5, 2012

Safety for Homeowners: Emergency preparation.

Filed under: Home Safety — Chuck @ 8:34 am

Every household should be prepared for emergencies. Sometimes planning for them will help to prevent them from ever happening. But if you should experience a true emergency, planning and training for it ahead of time will enable you to deal with it in a calmer, more capable, more effective and helpful manner. As they say in the world of competitive sports, “train hard to compete easy.” When the seconds are ticking past and you are in a real life and death situation, the experience will be much easier on everyone if they have at least some prior training. Otherwise people get scared because they don’t know what to do. They panic, and that makes the situation many times worse. Precious time can be lost while people are confused, indecisive, or downright incapacitated by the stress of it all. Here are some tips to help you get prepared for an emergency.

Seek Out Training
• There is no reason to rely on your own intuition or guesswork when it comes to emergencies, because the experts have already done all the research. Every community, no matter how small, is going to have nearby resources to help train you and your family members.

• The Red Cross, for example, offers great medical first responder training. You can find classes at local community colleges and through your fire department. The police department also offers help to educate you about how to prepare for emergencies.

• There are also many great free resources you can access online from the convenience of your computer. These are offered by all sorts of legitimate, official organizations including, for example, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

• Take advantage of these sources of information, and if possible have every member of your household get certified through a class in CPR and first aid. Both of these classes can usually be taken in one day. You’ll get a certificate for each of them that can also make you more marketable if you’re seeking employment.
Get Supplied
• While training you’ll also learn what supplies you need for medical emergencies, natural disasters, or events like fires or being a victim of crime.

• Make a checklist of necessary items to have ready and accessible. Buy the core items – like bandages, flashlights, fire extinguishers, and emergency food and water supplies – right away.

• Then budget so that you can gradually expand your inventory and have a robust list of helpful items stored away in your home – with smaller kits in each of your vehicles.

• The investment will pay for itself in immediate peace of mind, and can pay of itself millions of times over if you find yourself in a serious emergency.
Drill Your Plan
• Even if you have training and supplies, you need to refresh your emergency preparedness at regular intervals. Not only does this help you stay sharp and know what to do, but it is also valuable for training you emotionally and psychologically.

• In a real emergency, especially an urgent, life threatening situation, it can be surprisingly hard to function. Adrenaline rushes through the body, making it difficult to think in a calm and rational way.

• Even police officers, for example, often report that when they are in a fearful situation for the first time it is hard to do simple tasks like using a key to open a car truck. Their hands are too shaky and fine motor skills become difficult to manage.

• But by doing drills and putting your body and mind through the motions ahead of time, you will be able to respond much more effectively in a dire emergency. You’ll know what important steps to take so that you can get control of the situation, alert the proper authorities, and get yourself and others to a safe place while help is on the way.
Emergencies happen, and they might happen to you or one of your neighbors. So take a little time to plan for the unexpected. That way it won’t feel so unexpected, and you’ll have more peace of mind and confidence to arm you for dealing with situations that might otherwise rattle your nerves and threaten your health and safety.

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