Be Prepared: The Boy Scout Motto Still Holds True!
September 26, 2014 | By: Tom Grace
Fellow health care
colleagues and first responders, we all have experience in preparing for and
responding to emergencies, from the impact of severe weather to the emergence
of new diseases.
We are educated and
trained in following our hospital’s disaster plans. We are there for our
community during these stressful times, and often go above and beyond our
normal duties when responding to our community’s emergencies and disasters.
We know what we
need to do during these events; however, if a disaster happened today, would
you―as a person, and not a health care professional or first responder—be
sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during 2012 showed
that only 14 percent of people surveyed had taken every action they could to be
ready for emergencies; and 21 percent were working on being prepared.
For 46 percent of
people surveyed, being prepared for emergencies wasn’t even on their radar.
Here are some steps we can take to ensure the health and
well-being of our families, while we are busy providing care to others.
Make a Plan
Just as our hospitals have disaster plans, we must make a
plan for our family. Ready.gov has made it
simple for you to create a family emergency plan. Make sure that you consider
and customize your plan for your individual needs and responsibilities based on
the methods of communication, types of shelter, and methods of transportation
available to you.
One of the greatest challenges
in most emergencies is the ability to communicate with our family members. A
pre-designated out-of-town contact is key to communications when local systems
Often, long-distance lines
remain open when local routes are clogged. Likewise, text and social media
communications usually remain available when phone lines are clogged.
FEMA has a great resource to
help you to create your family communication plan. Once completed, you should keep this document somewhere
safe like in your wallet or in your kid’s backpack or school notebook. Another
option is to input these numbers into your cell phone.
Some other factors you should keep in mind when
developing your plan include:
ages and mobility levels of household members
- Work and
responsibilities for assisting others
frequented (including work)
needs including prescriptions, medications, and other medical equipment
or access and functional needs including eyeglasses, hearing aids, and other
support devices and equipment
- Cultural and
- Pets or
Build a Kit
important step in preparing for an emergency or disaster is building a disaster
kit, which should contain basic items your household may need in the event of
assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency because you probably will not
have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them if you have to
evacuate an area quickly.
You also may
need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own
food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72
resources and related information to help you with building and maintaining your disaster kit.
As National Preparedness Month draws to a close, I want to
remind all of you that the Boy Scout motto still holds true, be prepared!
Being prepared is part of
what we do as health care professionals and first responders. Knowing that our own
family is prepared can bring us some piece of mind while we are doing our jobs.