Emergencies – Plan and Prepare

Thursday, April 30, 2020

It is human nature to plan: grocery lists, Netflix queues, dream vacations. But recent events have made us evaluate our preparedness for the unexpected. In the past couple months, North Carolinians have experienced extreme weather, a pandemic, ever-changing social expectations, job losses, and professional challenges, and a more uncertain economic future. We can stockpile toilet paper, food, and face masks for immediate comfort, but planning is necessary to ensure the best outcomes in a variety of emergency situations.

The Family Emergency Plan

We cannot foresee every emergency. Yet we have common needs in the event of a disaster. To best anticipate these needs, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NC DPS) recommends creating a Family Emergency Plan, so in the event of a disaster, we act quickly and predictably. The plan ensures your family will have immediate survival needs met and everyone will know:

  • How to communicate with each other, or where to meet if separated

  • Which parts of the home are safest, or when to evacuate

  • How to safely prepare the home for extreme weather, including shutting off utilities

  • Locations and contacts for public services, safety information, and shelters  

  • What documents, supplies, and possessions to pack if evacuation is necessary

Download the free emergency family plan worksheet at https://www.readync.org/plan-and-prepare/make-plan

Immediate Safety Needs

North Carolina Department of Public Safety recommends preparing an Emergency Survival Kit as part of your emergency planning.

An important part of the emergency plan is stocking emergency supply kits. NC DPS recommends having a kit in the home, at the office, and in the car. Each should contain basic supplies for survival—water, food, clothing, blankets, medication, hygiene, and first aid supplies. As safety may depend on communication, they also recommend keeping a phone and charger ready, having an emergency radio, and finding extra power sources if possible.

Children and pets need special consideration, as they cannot plan effectively for their needs and comfort. Special foods, immunization records, and safety equipment such as car seats may complete the emergency supply kit. NC DPS also recommends making an identification card with contact information to place in the pocket or backpack of young children. Books, games, and activities are also recommended, as children’s emotional comfort is important to the whole family.

To see the full list of recommendations and considerations for your emergency supplies kit, visit https://www.readync.org/plan-and-prepare/get-kit

After the Emergency – Recovery

After the immediate danger has passed, you may not be able to immediately go home, or home may not be as you left it. This is why the emergency plan—beyond the basic supply kit—is so important. It helps you anticipate the documents and information that are most important in moving forward, including:

  • Emergency contacts—family, workplace, medical, other

  • Medical records and insurance information

  • Prescription lists and pharmacy information

  • Pet care records (including veterinary records, list of pets and their needs, etc.)

  • Account information for home or renter’s insurance and auto insurance

  • Birth certificates for children, social security cards, and other information needed to establish new accounts

Your emergency plan also leads you to consider other important, irreplaceable items in your home. Whether you protect and store them in the home or include them in your kit, planning will ensure the security of family pictures, family records, laptop computers, electronics, jewelry, and other heirlooms.

Please, Plan

Having an emergency plan enables you to anticipate a variety of challenges and prepare at leisure. With a plan in place, you will be ready to protect yourself and your family, and safeguard those items you could not bear to lose.

Jessica Efron, Cataloging Librarian