Parenting

Parenting: Family Preparedness

Monday, January 30, 2012
Its a lot easier to be evacuated to an emergency shelter if a family has a Go Bag ready.

It's a lot easier to be evacuated to an emergency shelter if a family has a "Go Bag" ready.

Once again, The Philadelphia Managing Director's Office of Emergency Management is asking some important questions every family should be considering. Are you and your family prepared for an emergency? If you had to stay in your home for a few days, would you have what you need to stay safe, comfortable and healthy? If you had to leave your home suddenly, without time to pack anything, would you be ready to go?

Chances are, many of can't say "yes" to all of this, and officials in the city (and elsewhere around the region, to be sure) say planning ahead is the only way to change that.

The thrust of the advice is this: make a family emergency plan, make a "Go Bag" and a "Shelter-in-Place" Kit, and be informed about the types of emergencies and appropriate responses.

In Philadelphia, they make all of this pretty easy. Simply visit www.phila.gov/ready and click on the yellow "Ready Philadelphia" logo for handy tips on preparing you and your children for the unexpected. The tips include what to have in your hand, in your home, and in your head in the event of any number of emergencies. You can also dial 3-1-1 to order a brochure on all these topics in English, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Cambodian, Polish, and Russian.

The sorts of problems officials anticipate being of biggest concern would be blizzards, extreme cold, long power outages, as well as severe storms, and even earthquakes (which as we learned several months ago are possible around here). Go-Bags containing medicines, tools and important papers could also come in handy during a bio-hazard event or even a terrorist action.

On a much more basic note, families should also have a fire escape plan in place, including a meeting place outside the home so in the event of a fire, all adults and kids can be quickly accounted for. Not knowing can cause surviving family members to run back inside looking for missing family members who are already out and safe.

So check out the information and plan ahead! You owe it to your kids. You owe it to yourself, too!

---David Murphy

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