National Preparedness Month: Family Preparedness
September is National Preparedness Month, a nationwide Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) initiative to increase awareness and encourage individuals, households, and communities to plan and prepare before a disaster strikes.
A little foresight can go a long way: plan now, so you know how to find and get in touch with your people when something happens. The same connections that are important in everyday life – with friends, family, neighbors, and communities – are even more crucial in a crisis.
The first step that each family should make is creating an emergency plan. Communication networks could be unreliable during disasters and electricity could be disrupted. As such, make a paper copy of the contact information for your family and other important people/offices, such as medical facilities, doctors, schools, or service providers. Make sure everyone carries a copy in his or her backpack, purse, or wallet.
Because a disaster can strike during school or work hours, check to see what emergency response plans are in place at your respective school, childcare, caregiver, or workplace. Discuss these plans with your children and let them know who could pick them up in an emergency.
Your emergency plan should have a designated meet-up spot. Do not choose a house, in the case that it is inaccessible; instead, think about parks or other landmarks that are both safe and familiar to each member of the family.
As part of your plan, pick an out-of-state contact. Who can serve as a hub for information, if you can’t reach others in your local area? In a disaster, it may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town because local phone lines are jammed.
A last – but important – step of planning for the worst is practice. Families should have regular household meetings to review and practice their plan. As time passes, remember to review and update your plan with new information.
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office has created SMCReady, a hub for emergency preparedness. You can find information about what to do in an emergency, simple steps to get connected, and useful guides to help you get prepared. Additionally, the City of Millbrae is served by the Central County Fire Department (CCFD). CCFD aims to provide exceptional emergency and non-emergency services to residents; this includes CPR training and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training for those who would like to plan ahead, as well as first response in the event of a disaster.