A Resolution For Safety: Create An Emergency Plan!
Disasters can take many forms – home fires, blizzards, floods or extremely cold or hot temperatures – and they can strike anywhere, at any time.
"Before a disaster strikes, it's important for families to have a plan. If you don't already have one, make it your New Year's resolution. Include how to get to a safe place, how to contact each other, how you will get back together and what you will do in different situations," says Lieutenant Jeremy Kopp at the Wausau Fire Department. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a plan template available at http://bit.ly/FEMAplan.
The Wausau Fire Department suggests using the following guidelines to create a personalized home emergency plan for you and your family:
* Discuss the types of disasters (tornadoes, blizzards, floods, wildfires, home fires, extreme temperatures) that are most likely to occur and the best ways to respond.
*Establish meeting places inside and outside your home, as well as outside the neighborhood.
*Make sure everyone knows when and how to contact each other if separated.
* Decide on the best escape routes from your home and identify two ways out of each room.
* Establish an out-of-town family contact to call after the disaster to let them know where you are and if you are okay. Make sure everyone knows the contact's phone number.
*Teach your children how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local EMS number for help.
* Install smoke detectors (on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms). Wausau Firefighters recommend using a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector and upgrading to a photoelectric smoke detector, which is more effective for warning of smoke from smoldering fires than ionization smoke detectors.
*Stock emergency supplies, such as food, water and medications and assemble a disaster supply kit with sufficient quantities to last for at least 72 hours. Store your supplies in a dry, cool place and be sure to include flashlights, batteries and a radio.
*Learn basic first aid. At the very least, each family member should know CPR, how to help someone who is choking and first aid for severe bleeding and shock. The American Red Cross offers basic training.
*Conduct a home hazard hunt. In a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is a potential hazard. Take time now to look around your home for potential hazards and correct any potentially dangerous situations.