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Emergencies happen when we least expect them. Depending on the severity of the emergency, it can equate to a massive financial loss, including the expense of connecting with loved ones, travel expenses, and lodging expenses etc.
Emergencies often occur when families are not together. When the 911 incident occurred parents (the most financially able and responsible) thought about the safety of their kids at school or elderly parents across town.
During times like these, if phones don’t work, or some neighbourhoods aren’t accessible, what plans do your family members resort to? Having a plan, and previously discussing it with loved ones, will save time and real-time stress.
Know how to connect in case of an emergency In a catastrophic emergency such as one that can occur during a hurricane, you’ll need a simple way to contact and/or meet one another if going home isn’t a possibility. Consider a safe place to meet like a community centre, library, or school.
The phone or mobile is usually the first method of connection. Establish a plan that includes contacts that can help your family communicate and find each other. Young school children, if they’re in class or day care will need to be picked-up. Know the emergency policies, and designate someone to pick them up. If your children are in university or living away from home, include them in your emergency plan. Teach them how they can identify themselves if they become separated from you and who to call, like 9-1-1 or your local emergency numbers, to get help.
Get updates from the radio, television or Internet Listen to the radio or television for information from local authorities and follow their instructions. Call 911 if appropriate. They may advise of dangerous areas or evacuations. You may need to turn utilities off such as electricity, water or gas valves. Ensure that everyone also knows the location of your family emergency kit and fire extinguisher.
Everyone should know your home’s safe exits and best places to go. And remember your pets, who may not be allowed in shelters or hotels. Identify kennels or friends’ homes where they can go in an emergency.
Elderly family members and/or those with special needs should also be a part of your plan. List the medications and supplies they may need and have them ready to transport with your luggage, in the event of an evacuation. Know any information caregivers will require. If they live alone, ask a friend or neighbour to check in on them or help them evacuate.
Have your personal documents ready In addition to your plan, documents will help you stay organized. Make copies of birth certificates, passports, wills, and insurance info. These documents, along with photos of your family members, should be kept at work, or other safe locations.
Having a plan is also part of being a responsible family leader and citizen. Local authorities will react swiftly, but they can’t reach everyone at once. Being prepared allows these responders to help those in urgent need first. So, do your part! Learn about the specific emergencies that can happen where you live.
How do you fund emergencies? Make sure you have put aside enough money to respond to urgencies such as flying a family member (or the entire family) out of a location. You may need money for lodging, clothing and or food.
By reviewing what occurred in Japan when nuclear reactors were damaged, we are humbled to acknowledge our dependence on one another and need of financial independence to be able to act swiftly, or make expenditure when the need arises.
Source Excerpts: Environment Canada
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