Are you prepared for disaster?

 
By Laura Mize • Published: September 5th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Massive tornadoes, raging wildfires, monstrous storms … these are just some of the devastating disasters our nation has suffered in the last year.

September is National Preparedness Month, and this year it seems an especially good time to ask: Are you prepared for disaster?

The first step in prepping for possible catastrophe is creating a family plan. Where will you all meet if a fire starts at home? Pick a nearby spot outside, and make sure all family members know to go there. Similarly, everyone should know where to meet if disaster hits while you’re out, preventing a return home. Discuss any specific challenges your family would face and create a plan in advance.

Next, gather supplies. If a blizzard or hurricane traps you at home or shutters stores, you’ll need food and water to make it through. Stock up on imperishable foods that don’t need complex preparation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends having a gallon of water for each person, per day. They suggest having enough food and water to last two weeks.

You’ll need supplies to get you through a long time without electricity: a flashlight, extra batteries, an emergency blanket and a crank- or battery-powered radio, to name a few. First aid kits are key, while extra cash and maps of your area can be handy, too.

Remember your family’s specific needs: diapers and foods for infants and toddlers; toys to distract kids; food, leash and I-D tags for pets.

Chronic health conditions may be extra tough in a disaster. Talk in advance with your doctor on how to handle conditions your family members have, should disaster arise. Extra medications and supplies to meet their needs are a must.

Check the C-D-C and American Red Cross websites for more details on these steps and other ways to be prepared. Hopefully, you’ll never need to implement that disaster plan.