At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.
Not too late for a resolution
Even though we’re mid-way through January, it’s not too late to update your list of New Year’s resolutions. Losing weight, learning a new language, exercising more, or picking up a new hobby are all great – but you can also Resolve to be Ready in 2013, and compared with the others, it may be the easiest resolution to follow up on!
We’re asking people to take steps to better prepare their families, homes, businesses, or neighborhoods for emergencies. There are lots of ways to start, but visiting Ready.gov is a great way to become more familiar with the risks in your area. The site also has simple, straight-forward steps you can take today to keep you, your family, and your community safer in 2013.
And if it still seems like too much to handle, you may want to check this out:
Do 1 thing
This is a web-based preparedness program that encourages participants to become better prepared by tackling one topic each month. The topic for January was “Make a Plan”, something that is near and dear to us at FEMA. The Do 1 thing campaign was recently featured on the CDC Public Health Matters Blog, and I wanted to share a section of it:
For January, the first Do 1 Thing step is to “Make a Plan.” When disaster strikes, having a family communication plan can help you and your loved ones know what to do and where to go. In most emergency situations, you must react quickly and having a plan will help everyone stay calm and clear-headed.
"When there is a fire at my house, I have to run to the swingset in the backyard and wait for Mama and Daddy." - Brianna, 6
There are many different ways that you can check this month off your list. Think about what kinds of disasters can impact the area where you live and talk to your family about what you would do if you have to evacuate. Are you in a hurricane zone? Are you affected by winter weather, tornadoes or extreme heat? And don’t forget the lesser expected, but also important event such as flu outbreaks and accidents.
You can also discuss your evacuation plan with your family. A friend of mine in Kentucky sat down with her 6 year old, Brianna, to tackle the basics: where to go if there is a fire. They talked about different ways to get out of the house in an emergency and where to meet the rest of the family outside. Brianna chose the swingset in the backyard as the safe spot, and drew a picture of the meeting point.
To solidify your evacuation plan, you can hold evacuation drills at home and practice getting out quickly. The more practice you have, the more confident you will be in a real emergency. This applies to everyone in your family, young and old. Amanda, my oldest friend, talked to her kids about home emergencies and set up a practice fire drill at the house. Sean and Mia met up at the telephone poll in their neighbor’s yard. They also learned different ways to escape in each room of their house, and who to call in an emergency.
As part of your planning, sit down and come up with a list of resources that you would need in an emergency. List out the important phone numbers, medical information, insurance information, and utilities information relevant for your family. Keep this list with your emergency kit so that you can find it quickly if you need it. FEMA offers a handy printable family emergency plan to help get you started.
I hope you’ll join me bringing in the New Year by making a similar resolution! Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.