It was heartbreaking to see what happened to my Filipino brothers and sisters in the recent strongest typhoon Yolanda / Haiyan that hit central Philippines. It could happen to anyone, anywhere. So it will be helpful if we have something like a plan to activate when "emergency" happens.
So what is an emergency? I told my children that when you hear me or daddy says "Emergency!", they will do what they have been told and practiced. In our list, here are their keywords for Emergency:
Other natural disasters
Power and communication outages
Industrial disasters (we are in the ammonia spillage zone from Molson)
Alien or zombie attacks (just remembered World War Z)
"The Rapture" in case there will be remnants in our family (Please read the Post Rapture Guide)
I was part of the ISO 140001 (Environmental) and ISO 27001 (Information Security) planning and implementation team. Both of these international standards included ERP (Emergency Response Plan) and Disaster Recovery Plan. I remember it would take approximately 72 hours for the rescue team to reach you so your plan should be able to cover this 3 days to survive.
What to do before?
1. Put a copy of all important information in an offsite location (or in a USB drive). These can be scanned government forms /ID, photos of each member of the family (in case, one of you got lost ), bank or investment documents, insurance documents, list of all passwords /access codes, list of all contact information (emergency numbers of government agency/disaster recovery command centre, relatives and friends), money or jewelry (bank).
2. Prepare and practice an emergency exit plan / route. Aloysius won last year's cover page for the Molson calendar and his entry was entitled "Remember where the emergency exits are." The drawing showed all possible exits in a school bus, in school, in the house, in malls or other public places. Identify the safe meeting place.
3. Prepare an emergency kit and tell all members where to get them. I have an old backpack where I put the following:
Canned food (have yet to discover efoods)
Gloves and scarves
Pen and paper
Match and candles
Mirror - to use in sending signals
USB Drive of your information backup
I'm still looking for a battery operated radio
What to do in an emergency?
1. Stay calm and be alert so that you will not forget about the "Plan". The kids will lose focus when they see you panic. If there is still an opportunity, pray together. Remind them about God's love, comfort and protection.
2. Direct the kids and remind them about the plan -- get the kit, follow the exit route and run to the safe place. Bring the phone, car /house keys, wallet/money and Go.
Depending on the situation, sometimes you need to wait for the signal to leave the house. Keep communication lines open.
3. Take an extra kit. I told my kids that if there is still a chance, they can fill another bag or bags up with all the ready to eat food and water they can get from the cupboard. Take biscuits, cookies, fruits, bread. I learned from a survivor / blogger that they only packed chocolate bars but they survived 2 days of walking before they reached an evacuation center in Tacloban. The chocolates were not just handy but also energy packed.
4. Bundle up - if the emergency happens on a cold weather, wear all the necessary clothes, footwear and headgear. if there's no opportunity, just grab your blanket or tower and run.
5. If needed, like in a case of fire, they must run and save their own lives. No turning back! The important thing is for them to be safe.The kids should know where to go in case they are the only survivors.
6. Contact others or the disaster command center and let them know your whereabouts. if you can, go to the evacuation center
7. If you are stuck somewhere and help is nowhere to be found, do not lose hope. Pray, read the bible. Praise and worship God. He will save us.
Emergency Preparedness Plan is a must for every family. You should have one.
BTW, this plan should be reviewed and communicated to all family members every year.