Pick up your new calendar, mark one day each month for reviewing the emergency supplies and the routes out of your building and one day each month for practicing emergency evacuations. Everyone in the family should carry an emergency contact card with the phone number of someone outside of the area to contact so separated family members have a way of re-establishing contact. Pick a safe place to meet after a disaster and write it on the calendar and on the personal cards.
Go through the calendar and mark a day each month to test your smoke detectors and on the dates when daylight saving time changes occur mark a reminder to change the batteries in the smoke detectors.
Put a reminder on your calendar to update your emergency plan, your contact information and any special needs information every three months.
If you live near one of the chemical weapons depots near Umatilla, Or., Toole, Ut., Pueblo, Co., Anniston, Al., or Richmond, Ky., you will be given information on the health affects of the materials stored there. You will also be instructed on the emergency zones and evacuation routes in case of an accident. Your family will be given a kit for shelter-in-place to use in your home and instructions on what items to add to the kit. This is one instance where the 72-hour kit list will come in handy. Instructions for putting together a 72-hour emergency kit can be found here and here.
Just add the listed items to the materials the Emergency Management People provide you with.
There are many other possible emergencies and disasters that can happen at any time and may happen at any location. The people who live in the area referred to as Tornado Alley should be prepared for tornados and the aftermath of severe thunderstorms. Families who live on the coast need to be aware of tsunamis; every head of household should research the fault lines in your area and prepare the family for the correct actions in case of earthquake.
If you live in an area prone to natural or man made disasters make your calendar a tool to help you remain updated on safety and preparedness actions and any helpful information. Make appointments to get any help you need before a disaster happens so you are fully prepared to take care of yourself and your family.
Here is a month to month guide to activities designed to help keep you safe and prepared through out the year:
Mark on your calendar a date for a safety and preparedness conference with your family, this should be scheduled within the first week of the New Year. Take time to place your 72 hour emergency supplies in an easy to carry large duffle bag. That should be the first act of the New Year and should actually be put together and ready to go before the New Years Eve festivities are over.
Request two copies of the emergency plan from your child’s school. One for you and one for your spouse or other alternate child care person in case you cannot get to the school.
Mark your calendar for regular fire drill practices with your children. The FEMA advice is for twice a year but families with young children should practice more often until you are sure your child understands the drill and can do it flawlessly. Pick a day to install smoke detectors on every level of your home or test and replace the batteries in existing smoke detectors.
Mark a day on your calendar to check supplies for winter emergencies and power outages. You should have gas or charcoal cooking supplies that you never, never use indoors but can use outdoors to heat food, water and make coffee.
Mark a day on your work calendar to update the contact list s for all employees and critical business contacts, make sure the emergency exits are clear and the emergency exit route maps are current and posted prominently. Mark days on your calendar for employee in-service conferences on safety and emergency procedures. Review and practice emergency plans for employees and distribute information on the location of emergency supplies and shelters.
Mark another day on your calendar for a safety and preparedness conference with your family. Wind storms can cause structural damage and blow down power lines. Make April Fools Day the day you teach your children that only fools touch downed electrical wires. (This may sound a little strong but safety around electricity cannot be emphasized too much). Make sure your family understands to stay indoors during severe wind events. The first Saturday in April can be used to service and check the operation of your generator and to review the operating instructions. Mark a day early in June to create a kit for your pets. Pet emergency supply kits should contain food, water, medical and vaccination records, a collar with an ID tag, and all the sanitation supplies you will need to keep things clean and habitable for you and the pet. A large supply of pet-poop bags is an absolute must.
Mark a day during the first week of May to update and re-furbish your first aid kit. Include a short, pertinent medical history for each family member and include a fresh current picture with the name, date of birth, height, weight, eye and hair color for each person along with their medical synopsis. For Mother’s day, plan an hour or two to help your mother get her personal first aid kit organized and include prescriptions, medical history and pictures for her as well. If you anticipate that your mother will need assistance during a disaster include your siblings in a conference about how best to assure that someone will be personally responsible for the support network.
Mark off a Saturday in early June to make sure anyone with bee sting allergies has a fresh epi-pen and knows how to use it. Review picnic and playground or park safety with your children. Father’s day should be marked with an hour or two set aside to prepare your dad’s personal first aid kit in the same manner you prepared your mother’s kit. Make sure his prescriptions are current and included, include a medical history, picture and contact information for the rest of the family. Extra glasses are a good idea as well.
Mark in appointments for swimming lessons for anyone in the family that does not know how to swim, circle a day for shopping for life vests that are coast guard approved and fit properly. Each family member should have their own personal life vest and must wear it whenever they are on the water. In an emergency you often do not have time to put the life vest on and it does no good if you are in the water and injured and it is in the boat and drifting away from you. If you live in a coastal area, mark in a day on your calendar to get familiar with the tsunami escape routes for your area. This is a good time to teach your children about tsunamis and make sure they know what the tsunami warnings will sound like. Teach your children the significance of the water receding unnaturally and that they must shout “tsunami, tsunami” to warn other people as they run to high ground.
Mark the first Saturday in August to review heat emergencies with your family, store extra water with your emergency kit, keep extra water in your car and in your boat or RV. Check on elderly family and friends who do not have air-conditioning or if the electricity “browns out”. Learn how to recognize heat related illness here and learn some tricks to stay cool even when there is no electric air conditioning available here.
Make the first week in August the Wildfire Safety Week in your house-hold and in your neighborhood as well. Clear a 30 to 100 foot fire safety zone around your house and outbuildings. Clear all the moss, needles and dead leaves off your roof and out of your gutters. Prune tree limbs up to 15 feet off the ground. Keep the grass mowed regularly and the shorter the better. Check your hose and make sure it is in good condition (no leaks) and will reach all areas of your home easily. Information from: Charity Guide.
Mark the first Monday in September to update school and work phone numbers and out of state contact numbers for your emergency kit and for each family member’s wallet. Put copies of important documents such as insurance papers, wills, birth certificates, and any other critical information in the emergency kit as well as in a secure location someplace separate from your home. Make updated plans with your family for a neighborhood meeting place and an alternate meeting place in case the first one is inaccessible. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes so be sure each family member knows what their individual plan is and how to contact other family members.
Mark a day to “make visible” any one who will be out hiking, biking, or playing at dusk or after dark. Use reflective caution tape on bikes, backpacks and play equipment. The children’s shoes with the lights that flash when the child is walking help visibility on dark evenings. Encourage the use of glow sticks when walking and reflective triangles on bicycles at dusk and after dark. Check this site for great safety tips http://bicyclesafe.com/ . Mark another day to review disaster protocol with your children and emphasize Halloween safety measures at this time.
Mark a Saturday early in November to winterize your car and go over safety precautions with your children. Make sure all drivers know that they are responsible for removing all snow and ice from a vehicle before moving it for their safety and the safety of other people on the road. Make sure tires are inflated to the recommended pounds per square inch. Slow down and do not use the cruise control on slippery surfaces. Update your car “winter emergency kit”. The car winter emergency kit should contain complete sets of warm dry clothing wrapped in tight bundles and sealed in plastic for each family member. Blankets, a flashlight, a shovel, sealed non-perishable food, extra water and energy bars.
Mark a day early in the month to go over your Christmas shopping list with a consumers safety information sheet to make sure your choices for toys are free of toxins and lead. Review consumer safety information for all the cooking, recreational vehicles, and power tools you intend to purchase and make sure there are no known safety concerns before you buy.
As new calendars come out this year it is worth noting that any day of any month of the year might be the time a disaster happens in your community. A disaster can happen at anytime. And as we have learned it can happen anyplace. This holiday season as you make your shopping lists and prepare your New Years Resolutions plan to pick up a new calendar with large blank squares around the days so you can go through and mark another year of safe and prepared living plans.
CSEPP Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program Calendar