Grid failures and catastrophic weather events are further proof that emergency preparedness is vital to survival and certainly not an overreaction.
But you don’t have to panic, either.
Let’s look at why emergency preparedness is important and how you make sure you’re ready for anything.
What does emergency preparedness mean?
The definition of emergency preparedness is the steps you take to ensure that you and your family are safe before, during, and after a disastrous event.
3 Reasons Why Emergency Preparedness Is Important
Ideally, the local government has followed its own emergency preparedness plan on the outside. And organizations will have their own OSHA required emergency action plan. Now, it’s up to you to ensure the safety of your unit.
Preparation Will Save Lives
The chances of you having to grab your emergency to-go kit or first aid kit (or use CPR + Defibrillator) are relatively low. But, it will always be better to have one in a reachable location than to need one and not be there.
Preparation also means knowing evacuation routes, phone numbers, and shelter plans.
How to Make an Emergency Plan
The most helpful emergency plans are those that are easy to follow. You’re not trying to overcomplicate an emergency response.
- Decide how you will receive emergency alerts – AM/FM radio, cell phone, ham radio, etc.
- Understand your shelter options – basement, storm shelter, community shelter, etc.
- If you’re leaving, know the evacuation plan ahead of time. You want to get the hell out of dodge using the safest route.
- An easy-to-follow family communication plan will reduce the risk of someone getting lost.
- You’ll want a well-stocked emergency preparedness kit in your home and vehicle.
Preparation Soothes Stress and Anxiety
Emergencies take a toll on even the most prepared, like first responders. When there is preparedness, everyone knows their role and how to work toward a positive outcome (think the effectiveness of fire drills).
Injuries and unorderly responses due to panic lead to further chaos in an already bad situation.
What are emergency preparedness activities?
Government-led emergency preparedness includes emergency planning, staff training, exercising, assessment, and remedial actions.
For you, it means continually planning and updating your family emergency response plans. You will find a ton of emergency plan templates that are easy to follow and customize for your specific needs.
If you’re looking for a fun preparedness activity, try doing a scavenger hunt from the contents of your emergency kit, like bandaids, dried food, goods, etc. They become familiar with the kit’s contents, and you can teach them about using them for survival.
Preparing Makes for a Better Recovery
What happens after is often as important as what happens before or during.
Some emergency events lead to damaged property, injuries, and fatalities. One of your responsibilities is to prevent any further losses. And, you want a plan that will return you and your family to some degree of normalcy as soon as possible.
72-Hour Preparedness Plan
We can’t all be full-on preppers, but we can manage a 72-hour emergency kit that is always on the ready.
Why 72 hours?
You have no idea how long you’ll have to survive on your own before emergency personnel arrive. You want as many supplies as possible as you wait it out.
Let’s not forget that we’ve still not invented a reliable way to maintain electricity during weather events, especially. You could be without power, water, and gas for days upon days.
72-Hour Basic Disaster Supply Kit
At a minimum, your emergency preparedness kit should last 72 hours and contain survival supplies.
- 3-day emergency non-perishable food supply based on family size.
- 3-day water supply (1 gallon per person per day.
- Battery-powered or cranked radio or TV.
- Extra, extra batteries (with a long shelf life).
- Fully stocked first aid kit and manual.
- Matches in a waterproof container.
- Extra weather-appropriate clothing
- Can opener and other kitchen utensils
- Copies of ID cards and CC
- Family-specific items such as medication, glasses, contact lenses, etc.
- Baby formula, snacks, bottles, etc.
What are the 5 categories of emergency preparedness and response?
FEMA and the National Preparedness Goal have five primary missions in terms of emergency events.
- Prevention. Regulatory and physical measures that prevent emergencies include drills, education, and updating warning systems.
- Protection. Written, approved, implemented, and tested strategies that reduce vulnerabilities meant to help minimize loss during an emergency.
- Mitigation. It is dedicated to breaking the cycle of damage, reconstruction, and further damage. It is a proactive measure before a disaster occurs.
- Response. The response phase is the most chaotic unless there is preparedness in place. It is the actions taken immediately following a disaster.
- Recovery. Restoring, redeveloping, and revitalizing communities are the priorities during the recovery stage.
As a citizen, you have your role in disaster preparedness.
FEMA-Approved Emergency Preparedness Content
- FEMA Online Ordering Site
- Emergency Plan for Families
- Emergency Plan for Kids
- Emergency Plan for Commuters
- Pet Owners
- Protect Critical Documents and Valuables
- Emergency Financial First Aid Kit
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Disaster Checklist
- Make a Plan (Video)
FAQs about Emergency Preparedness
Why is it important to have a family emergency preparedness plan?
You’re enhancing the preparedness and readiness of your community when you have a plan in place. It reduces the disaster’s impact and makes disaster recovery swifter and more manageable.
What is a family plan for emergency preparedness?
A family emergency plan allows each household member to understand how to react during a particular event and prepare safely.
How often should I run drills with my family?
Most agencies will recommend practicing all emergency drills at least twice a year. That goes for fire, tornado, and end-of-the-world drills. Things change over the course of a few months, and you need the best practices in place in the case of an emergency event.
What is the importance of preparing a family emergency plan?
Emergencies will be chaotic, and the last thing you want is to lose contact with those you love. Preparing a plan means that everyone will know how to contact one another, how and where they will reunite, and discuss different scenarios. Communication is the most critical part of emergency response from citizens and first responders, and you want to maintain it so that everyone comes out safely on the other side.