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Develop a Disaster Plan Before the Disaster

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Human beings are notorious for putting off until tomorrow what we should do today. So it is with the Family Disaster Plan (FDS). How many of us have taken the time out of a busy schedule to put one together? Not many. How many of us are going to be very sad puppies when something happens? A whole bunch.

At The Holistic Survival Show, Jason Hartman would like to make it insanely easy for you to put together a FDS. The steps are laid out for you in this article like a blueprint. Print it out. Follow through. Let your conscience rest easy in the knowledge that, like the Boy Scouts, you are prepared.

FIND OUT WHAT COULD HAPPEN IN YOUR AREA

While we’re all susceptible to general threats like terrorism, there are others, such as natural disasters, that are indigenous to your local area. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, just to name a few. Before you put together your FDS, contact the local health department and Red Cross chapter to find out exactly what the likely threats might be. Be prepared to take notes when you ask questions like:

• What types of disasters could happen and how should I prepare for each?
• What are the local warning signals and what should I do when I hear them?
• Are animals allowed into emergency shelters?
• How can I help elderly or disabled persons?
• What disaster plans are already in place at work, school, or places I spend time?

CREATE A DISASTER PLAN

With the answers to the questions above lodged firmly in your mind, it’s time to map out a FDS. You should involve all members of the family during planning. Children especially, should be educated about the need to prepare for disaster and the particular dangers involved with such events as fire, severe weather, earthquakes, or whatever might be considered a threat in your neck of the woods. Items to discuss should include:

• Types of disasters that could happen and what to do in the event of each.
• Pick two places to meet. The first should be right outside your home. The second should be outside your neighborhood. Make sure everyone knows the address and phone number of the meeting place.
• Establish an out-of-state friend or family member as your “family contact”. In the event of an emergency, everyone should call this person to let them know where they are.
• Know what to do in an evacuation. Have a plan to take care of the pets.

CREATE AND COMPLETE A CHECKLIST

You’ve done all the planning now it’s time to take action. The following list should be taken care of right away.

• Post emergency phone numbers by phones.
• Teach kids how and when to call 911.
• Make sure each family member knows how to turn off water, gas, and electricity.
• Check insurance coverage to make sure it’s adequate.
• Show each family member where fire extinguishers are kept and how to use them.
• Install smoke detectors on each level of the house.
• Locate and eliminate possible hazards around the house. Think of it like this – anything that can move, fall, or break during an emergency should be considered a hazard. For example, an unsteady bookshelf could fall on top of you at precisely the wrong time.
• Stock emergency supplies. Take a first aid and CPR class.
• You need two ways out of each room. Develop escape routes.
• Find the safe spots in your home for each possible kind of disaster.
• Keep a smaller emergency supplies kit in the car trunk.
• Keep on hand a portable, battery-operated, radio or television. Make sure there are LOTS of extra batteries.
• Make two photocopies of vital documents. The originals should go in a safe deposit box. Stash one copy in a safe place in the house. Give the other to an out-of-state friend or relative.
• Take a complete inventory of your home, garage, and property. If your possessions are destroyed by disaster, this could prove VERY helpful in proving to the insurance exactly what you had.

PRACTICE AND MAINTAIN YOUR PLAN

Now it’s time to keep on your toes. You need to keep your plan in fighting shape or it will be useless when you really need it. Remember to do the following:

• Quiz your kids every six months so they don’t forget what to do.
• Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills.
• Replace stored water every three months and food every six months. Just consume it and put in new so it doesn’t go to waste.
• Test and recharge fire extinguishers according to instructions.
• Test smoke detectors monthly and change batteries yearly.

There you have it. A complete Family Disaster Plan. Do everything we just talked about and you, my friend, will be ahead of 99% of the population when stuff starts to happen.

The Holistic Survival Team