The month of September is National Preparedness month and Austin-Travis County EMS encourages you to be prepared in the case of an emergency. Being informed and planning before disaster strikes are the most effective ways to ensure your family’s safety.
Can you really be prepared for everything? No. We at Austin-Travis County EMS know this lesson well. So what’s the point? We know we can’t go out and buy anti venoms, electrical generators, get in perfect shape and install storm cellars, so why tackle all this stuff at all?
It is true that we cannot be completely ready for any emergency, but there are many simple and affordable things that we can do that will leave us better off after many emergencies than we would be if we just skipped the whole thing.
Many emergencies have several things in common, for example the need to evacuate your home. Do you know where you would go if you had to evacuate your home? Do you know if and when you would even have to evacuate? Knowing the answers to these crucial questions can save valuable time when seconds count. If your family is like many of ours, this is likely to happen when family members are scattered and not seated around a table ready to make a plan. The time to decide how to handle an evacuation and (if needed) a rendezvous point is NOW. A family communication plan could save you many painful hours of searching, wandering or waiting. Decide with your family where and how you will find each other. Imagine various contingencies and talk about how your family will deal with them.
Assemble an emergency kit:
After you know what your course of action will be in each type of emergency, prepare a kit with all the essentials. You might have to evacuate in a hurry, maybe even on foot, and when time is of the essence retreating to a safe location will be your top priority. You will not have the time to grab supplies in the midst of a crisis. It’s easy to think these supplies only help you during the emergency, but they are also useful after an emergency in the event you are trapped in a place where emergency personnel cannot immediately reach you.
Remember, emergencies don’t care if you forgot to grab water at the grocery store or whether you are on vacation. Be prepared for every kind of hazard in any given moment. We recommend assembling two kinds of emergency kits: a larger, more complete kit to accommodate an entire family as well as a smaller "bug out bag" for each individual family member.
Getting nervous? Relax; the odds are pretty good that this whole discussion will never be more than just that. It’s worth the time though because if you ever have to “bail out” for any reason, the peace of mind that comes with having a shared plan will be priceless!