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9/28/2012 - Are you ready for weather hazards?


Families should make their own emergency plans.

With the arrival of fall, many Americans are finally settling into their routine, as kids are back at school and adults have returned to the daily grind. For some, this adjustment can be a bit overwhelming, as in a fairly short period of time a lot needs to get done.

But before September comes to a close, federal officials remind Americans that it was National Preparedness Month and urge them to make contingency plans for the unexpected.

For the ninth straight year, safety experts and the Federal Emergency Management Agency spent the better part of the month imploring families to ready themselves for emergency situations, as wild weather can be common. For example, a good way to start is by developing a family disaster plan.

1. What should be included in a family disaster plan? Arranging emergency contact information for the fire department, police department and ambulance numbers is an important aspect, but it's also crucial to determine what the best escape routes are in a home. Then, parents should establish a place away from the residence that's safe for everyone to meet. Safety advocates also recommend the heads of the household update their homeowners insurance policies, which can provide families with the financial protection they need should their homes be severely damaged or destroyed by an environmental event or fire.

2. What should be included in an emergency kit? A disaster plan should also be supplemented with emergency supplies, safety advocates advise. Collecting these supplies over time - such as one gallon of water per person per day, nonperishable food items, flashlights, extra batteries, personal hygiene items an emergency blanket and rain gear - can make the task seem easier.

3. What are the basic elements of a business contingency plan? With many men and women now running their own businesses, business preparation is equally as crucial, FEMA notes. Entrepreneurs can make provisions by gathering information about the biggest hazards and risks their company faces, establishing ways to de-emphasize these risks, writing out a preparation plan, training management and employees about how it works and then testing it out every now and then through company drills or group exercises.


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