My daughter watched an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
in which a storm damaged the neighborhood, but the main characters were safe because they had a safety plan. Now, every time the sky is overcast, she asks if we should use our family safety plan. Much of the country has seen wild weather, including our area. And this year’s tornado season has been especially wild. As of April 12, 529 tornadoes have been reported, according to a National Weather Service report. The average from last three years is 195 tornadoes
. Almost everyone agrees they’re responsible for their family in a disaster, like a tornado or large storm, according to a 2013 Federal Emergency Management Agency study
. However, almost half the study’s respondents said emergency preparedness was “not on their radar.” Only about half of the study’s respondents reported having emergency supplies, and less than a third said they updated supplies yearly. The FEMA study gave four reasons people weren’t preparing. Let’s look at each of these and how to solve them. Believe preparing is too expensive.
“It’s possible to build an emergency kit on a budget,” said Maralin, Hoff, nicknamed the “Earthquake Lady,” from the Division of Emergency Management in the Utah Department of Public Safety “We think an emergency kit is going to cost an arm and a leg. No. It’s a shoestring. It’s that easy,” she said. Start at the dollar store, she suggested. That’s how Shelly Robertson, of American Fork, Utah, built and refurbished her emergency kit. Robertson found small bottles of medicines like children’s acetaminophen and Ibuprofen; glow sticks; trash bags; hand sanitizer; and travel size toiletries at the dollar store. She bought backpacks at a sale at Emergency Essentials. While there, she also bought emergency reflective sleeping bags
and New Millennium energy bars
because she wants lightweight emergency food her children will eat. Robertson looks for sales for more expensive items. She found a mess kit on sale at a recreation outlet store. She found an emergency radio
discounted during one of Emergency Essentials’ sales. “Mostly, just take a look around at what you already own, then buy a few specialty items,” she said. “There’s a lot you can pick up for very cheap, on a very limited budget. Think about what you need, and what you can substitute for it, and just go for it.” Don’t know how to get prepared.
Unless you’re one of the 13 percent of adults who don’t use the Internet
, which means you’re not reading this anyway, you have abundant access to preparedness information. Start by considering what disasters you could face. You can Replace out what natural disasters your state is most prone to at Your State Perils
. Next, go to ready.gov and hit “Navigation.” That will bring up a list of disasters you can prepare for. Most preparation is the same no matter what the natural disaster might be. Scroll below the list of natural disasters to “Make an Emergency Plan.” There, you can Replace step-by-step preparedness instructions. Involve family members, schools and people you work with. According to the FEMA study, when children brought home preparedness material from school, their households were 75 percent more likely to have a household emergency plan. When employers encouraged employees to have an emergency plan they were 76 percent more likely to do so. “For natural disasters, knowing the risk, being confident in the ability to prepare, and understanding that preparing helps is important,” the FEMA study said. Don’t think they have time to prepare.
Everyone’s busy. But it’s possible to incorporate emergency preparedness into your lifestyle. “Try to make emergency planning fun for young children. Gather your family members together for a quick family meeting, maybe over a pizza or before watching your favorite movie,” Ready.gov suggested. Also, look for volunteer opportunities. Some require training in first aid and CPR that can help in an emergency. Others might have emergency evacuation plans at their facilities, and the plans will remind you to plan for your family. “Volunteers reported more confidence in their knowledge of what to do for different disaster types,” the FEMA study said. Believe getting information is too hard.
In addition to going online, talk to someone who has made emergency preparation. “Talking about preparing had the strongest positive relationship with preparedness behavior,” the FEMA study said. Talk with your family. Studies agree
that children who learn about disasters in a safe environment are less afraid during a disaster. Try the American Red Cross app Monster Guard