September is National Preparedness Month, a great time to review or create your family’s emergency plan, make updates where necessary, and consider new ways of keeping your loved ones safe.
If you don’t already have a plan in place, a great place to start is with emergency planning for occurrences like natural disasters. Sites like that of the American Red Cross provide emergency planning information and kits, with thought provoking questionnaires to help your family plan for emergency needs.
The BBB also suggests another type of emergency planning, not as often discussed….the “Personal and Family Emergency Plan”.
Should you or a family member become injured, hurt or in trouble, do you have a personal plan of how things should be handled and where important documents can be found? Do your family members know where to access your schedule, find important documents or locate your doctor should it be needed in an emergency?
“Having this “Personal Family Plan” in place can be just as important as having a plan for wide-spread disaster,” says Tom Bozikis, Vice President of Bureau Policy and Standards at the Tri-State BBB.
The BBB suggests the following tips, to help prepare for personal and family emergencies:
1) Designate at least one family member to know the gist of your family schedule or where to find it. A paper calendar on the fridge, a family schedule on the computer or a planning application used on your smart phone, can be helpful. That way if communication can’t be made during an emergency, someone has an idea of where to find you. (Tip, don’t forget to provide your designated person access to a key, should they need to get into your residence or a password, if needed for an electronic view).
2) Have a family “password” to help verify questionable correspondence or calls.
The BBB has received many reports of family members scammed, when receiving emergency calls from someone they thought was a family member in distress. A password known only by your family, can help eliminate these concerns.
3) Provide school and teacher names, phone numbers and transportation methods – including times of drop off and arrivals, should children be involved. Also make sure someone has access to care for any pets, should you be unable to reach your home.
4) Consider establishing an interim caregiver plan for children, pets and other family members of concern.
5) Provide someone you trust with a copy of, or access to, emergency information, should you or your family be in crisis. Information like health insurance numbers and providers, allergy or medication information and blood types may well expedite treatment and save a life, when seconds count or family members cannot communicate on their own.
6) Finally, designate a “family hub” for meeting and information gathering/dissemination. If all pertinent information is communicated to one central place, it will certainly help establish a stronger support system in a time of need.
For more tips you can trust, visit www.evansville.bbb.org.