An Eagle Scout’s Guide To Emergency Preparedness
So this morning I woke up to howling winds and the sound of snapping tree branches. My yard was littered with twigs and large tree branches. Luckily there was no damage to my home, and my animals were all safe and sound in their shelters. However, this got me thinking. Would I be prepared if conditions were worse then just some high winds knocking down a few branches?
In Washington State, we get our fair share of natural disasters. The most common being flooding, landslides, high winds, and wildfires. Just this past year wildfires from California and Canda caused such heavy air pollution that it was unsafe to go outside without a mask. During that time I had to stop working outdoors because I was having trouble thinking straight and remembering things.
So how can you prepare your family for the next disaster?
Have A Plan
Make a plan with your family to regroup in an area. Is your area at risk of flooding? Then meet at the high ground in the park you and your family go picnicking every week. Is the house on fire and you need to get out? Then go out the closest exit and meet at the spot you picked out to meet with your family. Always take the time to train your family on the different ways to get out of the house. For example, feeling the door to see if its warm instead of grabbing the knob and burning yourself. If the smoke is heavy in the house, then crawl under the smog, so you don’t pass out from lack of air. If you are in the first story then going through the window is another option of escape. If you have young children, make sure that they get out as soon as possible. This is to avoid them from hiding and preventing rescuers from saving them.
Make sure to store all items listed below in a waterproof container and in a spot where you can grab it in a hurry. Make sure to do routine checks to make sure everything is in working order and replace any spoiled or damaged items.
- First Aid Kits: Having a First Aid kit on hand can help buy time for those who are severally hurt and need to get to a hospital.
- Food & Water: You may be stuck in a situation where it may be a few days before help can get to you so having food and water is a must.
- Flash Lights: Used to see in the dark or to signal other for help. SOS is the most commonly used signal to request aid.
- Extra Batteries: Having spare batteries can be useful in case your flashlights run out of power or if you need to start a fire with steel wool.
- Blankets: Helps to keep you warm and you can modify them for other uses. For example with two strong poles, you can create a makeshift stretcher or rip it apart to make spare bandages.
- Duck Tape: Duck Tape can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used to patch up wounds, closing up holes in clothes or in your water bottles.
- Cell Phone: Call for help or to let others know you are ok.
- Fire Extinguisher: Put out fires fast before they become uncontrollable.
- Extra Clothes: Helps you to stay warm and clean.
- Toilet Essentials: Toilet paper, toothbrush, and soap. There should be no reason why you can not keep your self clean and prevent the spread of illness.
- Money: You may end up losing everything so having some spare change set aside can help you find new clothes, food, water, and housing.
- Copies Of Important Documents: This would be copies of your ID and other legal documents so you can get back on your feet as soon as possible.