Thursday, September 19, 2013

Are You Prepared for an Emergency?



I just attended an Emergency Preparedness training sponsored by Kennedy Donovan Center here on the Cape. As a parent, I am thoroughly unprepared to handle an emergency should one arise. I would be running around with my head cut off and I know I’d miss some very important items that my family would need. As a parent of two special needs kids, I really need to prepare ahead of time. The good thing is that it's not too late, unless you live in Boulder Colorado where floods are requiring evacuations as I type. With all the weather changes and disasters we’ve seen; Katrina, tornados, hurricanes, and even Nemo here on the Cape, there is a real possibility that any one of us could need to evacuate or deal with less than our normal resources. Here are some tips I learned today.

1. Know where your emergency shelters are if you should need them and know what to bring.  
  • If you have a pet, check beforehand if they have a place for them
  • Bring an extra set of clothes
  • Bring a pillow
  • Bring medications you will need (in child proof bottles)
  • Bring medical equipment, CPAP, cane, walker etc.
  • Bring specialty food items you might need (gluten free, low fat snacks etc.)
  • Bring chargers for your cell phone
  • Bring a radio & extra batteries
  • Bring items to entertain yourself and kids (board games, cards, coloring books, IPods, sensory items, favorite blankets)
  • Bring toiletries (shelters may have these, but good to bring your own if you can)
  • For young kids bring diapers, formula, wipes, etc.
  • If your child uses a communication system, bring it along or bring pictures
  • It was suggested to bring a social story if your child has disabilities and would just not understand what is happening.
  • Not required, but you could bring an air mattress
  • If you are talented, bring a willingness to use it (i.e. guitar or other instrument)
  • If you do have special needs, please communicate that when you check in. 
2. Have a plan for your home. 
  • Plan and prepare 2-3 days out before the storm hits if possible.
  • Have a weeks worth of water on hand and non-perishable food items
  • Other items to keep in a safe place, LED flashlights, extra batteries, consider a head lamp if you will need both hands to help children or have a disability yourself, a small lantern, pack zip lock bags, have a car charger or an alkaline cell charger for your phone, pocket utility knife, a pocket d-icer (in case your car lock freezes), can opener, maybe an extra pair of glasses, pencils (they don’t run if it gets wet), walkie talkies to communicate with neighbors who might need to be monitored, a radio, first aid supplies, keep a copy of medical notes in the pack, baking soda for washing, charcoal water filters, etc.
  • Have a support network, not just one person including friends, coworkers, and family members.  Make sure they have numbers and know where you will be going.  Make sure you know where they are as well.  
  • If you can afford it maybe get a generator.
  • If you do leave your house, turn on your outside light so that emergency personnel can determine when the power comes back on to your house.
  • Remember to lock all doors and windows if you do have to leave. 

3. If you have a pet and are allowed to bring it to the shelter, bring…
  • Food—put dogs name on it and instructions as to how much and when they eat
  • Medicine, again with identifying information and instructions.
  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Non-retractable leash
  • Collar with identity tags and rabies certification.
  • Be prepared to care for your pet, feed, walk etc.  There may be personnel overseeing the animals and they will do this if you cannot, but it’s better if you can.

Emergency personnel were challenging us to do what we can to help ourselves, and if we need help, please reach out for it.  If you end up in a shelter, bring a willingness to help, supervise children at all times, and bring your sense of humor.  It’s in working together that we can all best help one another. Here is a picture of my starter kit I received today. And I leave you with a challenge from me to start your own. 

Submitted by:
Susan M. LaPlant
Director of Admissions

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