Plan Ahead: Make An Emergency Plan
We are lucky we live in Des Moines. We are free from hurricanes and wildfires however we do experience our share of natural disasters. Knowing this, we all need to be prepared.
Des Moines has a few main natural disaster scenarios that us as parents should keep in mind: tornadoes, flooding, drought, fires, extreme heat, and hard winter freezes. We have children, extended family, and even pets that we need to consider when these situations arise.
So, what should we do? Make an emergency plan. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, also known as FEMA, has free resources available on their website to make this even easier. To recap, here are a few key pieces that families in Des Moines should consider doing:
- Think about your specific household – your needs, dynamics, religious considerations, and medical needs. Do you have pets? Is there someone with specific needs living with you? Are there medical needs? Where are your important documents kept like social security cards?
- Put together a family communication plan. This plan will address things like evacuation routes, shelter, how everyone will receive emergency alerts and warnings, and where emergency meeting locations could be.
- Practice your plan with those in your home. It’s one thing to create a plan and never touch it again. It’s another to be ready.
It’s also just as important to create an emergency kit. This is an activity where your kids can help be a part of the plan. The process of building an emergency kit is a great opportunity to talk with your kids and educate them on all the ways that we all rely on electricity, and what we would need to do if we had to go without it. It’s ideal to have enough supplies to last for at least three days. FEMA’s website gives a checklist for kids to help create a scavenger hunt to gather items to have in your household emergency kit. Parents have their own checklist too!
Once you have your emergency kits, you need to store them in the appropriate places at home, work, or in vehicles. The most important thing after you make your kit(s) is to maintain them. Family needs will shift and change, food can expire, and other needs will arise. Mark your calendars every six months to check in on your kits.
We can always replace things like buildings, cars, and toys. What we can’t replace is our family.
For more information on what your family can do to prepare, visit FEMA’s website.