Five Ways to Prepare Your Family for an Emergency

By Pam Reiss

It was just another Saturday morning in paradise when citizens in Hawaii picked up their phones to see an alert come across the screens. Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency had accidentally sent an alert notification that a ballistic missile was inbound for the island, sending the people of the state into an immediate state of panic.

The shocking alert sent families scrambling to find each other and look for safe places to survive the threat. For forty minutes, this fear gripped the state, until authorities finally responded with an update that the notification had been sent in error.

While the world breathed a collective sigh of relief, this instance underscored an important lesson to consider: it seems nobody was quite prepared when disaster was imminent.
But in an emergency, chaos and panic can be just as dangerous as the threat itself. That’s why it’s important for you to have an emergency plan in place ahead of time so that you don’t get swept into the confusion. Whether it’s Mother Nature or the threat of war, your family must be prepared at all times. Here are several tips to help you figure out your strategy for coping with an emergency.

Locating loved ones: When emergency strikes, the first thing you’ll likely think of is your family. You’ll need to know where everyone is, and what their needs are, in order to gather safely. Start a phone tree for efficiency, and try to figure out a meeting location that is central to where your family spends most of its time.

Preparing your go-bag: You may not have time to gather supplies in the event that you’re forced to evacuate your home in an emergency. Prepare a go-bag for each family member in advance. These should include water, non-perishable food, medical supplies and batteries, just to name a few.

Practice makes perfect: Don’t wait until disaster strikes to see if your emergency preparations will be effective or not. Run drills with your family at home. Test yourself at work, or even random locations while you’re going about your day. Emergency situations won’t come when it’s necessarily convenient for you.

Keep up on maintenance: Your car could be your path to safety. Or, you may be better suited staying hunkered down at home. Either way, you’ve got to keep up with maintenance so that the things meant to protect you don’t fail when they’re needed most. Be sure to weather-proof your home—especially your utilities. Keep up with routine maintenance on your vehicle, too.

Personally identifiable information: When Hurricane Harvey was bearing down on Texas last year, residents were urged to write their social security numbers on their arms in order to help first responders do their job. Personal information will be critical in an emergency, especially if you can’t locate your loved ones. Keep photos and other records with you, as it will help you track down your family and assist with rescue efforts.

There’s a popular saying that says, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” At The Milford Bank, we’ve been helping families cover all their bases for generations. To learn more about how we can help your family prepare for whatever comes your way, stop by any office of The Milford Bank in your neighborhood, or check out our Online Learning Center here.