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Friday, January 21, 2011
Emergency Preparedness Basics

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By Michael K.

Part of caring for our loved ones is knowing in advance how we would provide for them in the case of an emergency. We don’t like to think of it, but the consequences of being ill-prepared range from a mild inconvenience to “life and death.”

Types of emergency situations vary. Here are a couple of examples of common ones, along with a few situation management tips and handy emergency aid items.

Flat Tire: We’ve all been there. One minute you’re cruising down the highway, and the next you’re stuck on the side of the road.

Properly dealing with a flat tire requires keeping a cool head. Even though getting a flat in itself is not such a big deal, failing to work through it in a calm manner can cause even more problems. Keep these step-by-step instructions in mind the next time you get a flat:
  • Check Passengers: Depending on the rapidity of the air loss, you may or may not have lost control of your vehicle. Is everyone ok? If not, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Move Vehicle: Make sure your vehicle is completely off the road, keeping you and your passengers out of harm’s way.

  • Assess Damage: Again, depending on the severity of your situation, your vehicle may be damaged. If so, make sure to call your insurance company to make your claim. If you have a camera with you, make sure to take pictures.

  • Address Tire: If you are a member of a roadside assistance club, now is the time to call. Most services can have your tire changed and you back on the road within an hour. If not, check your vehicle for a spare tire and jack apparatus.
Home Injury: These can range from a paper cut to a broken leg. Knowing how to respond in these situations therefore, can either be rather unimportant, or absolutely critical.
  • Assess the Situation: What has happened? Is there a continuing threat? How serious is the injury? Taking note of the answers to these questions can help you to respond in the most appropriate manner.

  • Consider Medical Attention: Only after Step 1 will you be prepared to answer the question: Do I need to go to the hospital?

  • Treatment: After Step 2, you can either proceed to the hospital (either under your own power, or with the help of someone else), or treat yourself at home. Consider keeping an emergency aid kit around the home for such emergencies.  
Natural Disaster: The beautiful and diverse areas of our great country are subject to a number of equally distinct natural disasters. From the hurricanes of the gulf coast states to the earthquakes of California, each of our regions has a force of mother nature to deal with.
While the specific reactionary procedures depend on the specific storm, there are a few common steps to be taken regardless of the situation:
  • Get to Safety: Of course the safest place for you and your loved ones is contingent upon the type of disaster. As a reminder, in a tornado, an underground cellar is best. Hurricanes are best weathered in a concrete structure AWAY from doors and windows. If caught indoors during an earthquake, take shelter under a sturdy object away from items, such as bookshelves or lighting fixtures, which could possibly fall.

  • Take a Tally: Make sure your loved ones are all accounted for.

  • Consult the News: Oftentimes during a disaster, emergency response information will be made available through television media outlets or the radio. IF SAFE TO DO SO, consult these sources for further instructions.
In such emergencies, it makes sense to have not only an emergency survival kit large enough to support your family for several days, but a backup power source for cell phones and other essential devices.

No matter what the emergency, it pays to be prepared. Keep your family’s safety in mind by following these simple steps.

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