Tornados, hurricanes, snowstorms, fires, floods. These are all events that can catch anyone off guard. This month the nation focuses on emergency preparedness and there are things that you can do to get ready. Here are seven tips.
1. Create an emergency contact list. This list includes family, friends and medical information such as your insurance company and how to contact your primary care physician. You can post your list in a visible location like on the refrigerator or kitchen corkboard. Also give a copy to the friends and family on the list so that if an emergency happens they could contact each other to help you. You can create your list in print and/or braille so that you as well as sighted people in your life have access. You can also keep a list on your cell phone or smartphone.
2. Purchasing an accessible emergency and/or first aid kit. Grab Pak is a company that provides fully accessible emergency preparedness kits to the blind and visually impaired. The company offers six different kits that are accessible to both large print and braille readers. The first-aid kits come with standard items such as bandages, gloves, tweezers, and gauze pads. The emergency preparedness kits come with items such as water pouches, a crank mobile device charger, a solar blanket, a folding white cane, and much more. For more information and to purchase a kit go to www.grabpak.com.
3. Keep extra drinking water on hand. Several gallons can come in handy just in case there is a water main break and you can’t quickly get to the grocery to purchase water. Also keep canned or packaged food on hand that does not require cooking and can be eaten on the go. Don’t forget to also have a manual can opener just in case of a power outage.
4. Have extra batteries available. You can place them in a drawer for quick access. The batteries can be used for radios or flash lights; but do not place the batteries inside because they could corrode and not work when you need them. So, just place them nearby and you can grab when needed.
5. Purchase hand-held fire extinguishers. According to the National Fire Protection Association it is best to have a fire extinguisher on each level of your home, in the kitchen, the garage and near exit doors. You never know when you might need to put out a small fire and you will lose precious time running around the house to get an extinguisher. Two things to remember though--be sure to check the agent class. They come in A, B, C or a combination. If you have questions about this talk to one of the sales clerks at the home improvement store or your local fire department. Also, keep track of the agent levels in the extinguisher. Over time the agent strength level decreases and the worse thing is to have a fire, grab your extinguisher, aim, spray and nothing comes out! Unfortunately this information is not very accessible so you will have to get a sighted person to check the levels.
6. Accessing important documents such as social security cards and birth records. These documents can be hard to replace if they are lost or damaged during an emergency or natural disaster. To avoid this, purchase a security box that is both water proof and fire safe. In the security box you can keep your birth records, passport, insurance information, previous tax returns and other important sensitive documents. Another thing you can do is scan these documents on the computer and save copies on a secure Internet storage site like Dropbox. Drop Box and similar sites can be accessed anywhere there is an Internet connection and on smartphones.
7. Create an advance medical directive. This document states what to do medically if you become unable to direct your own care. It would give who to contact to make medical decisions on your behalf and whether you want to be resuscitated or not. This is something that needs to be taken seriously because the wrong medical care could be administered without your knowledge or approval.
The tips listed above to prepare for an emergency are not exhaustive. But it can be a great start. Do any of the tips listed resonate with you? What things are you doing to prepare for an emergency? Do you have suggestions or tips that you would like to share? Please do so in the comment section so that we can help each other be prepared for an emergency.