On a daily basis when we check the news or social media, we are bombarded with one devastating environmental disaster after another. It seems so consistent that it has us wondering what will happen next? When will “The Big One” strike? The single best thing we can do for our loved ones is to be educated and prepared for an emergency. Your list of loved ones does not just include yourself, your children and your immediate family; it also includes nannies and babysitters, extended family, friends and neighbors. Think about who to share your family plan with and your emergency contact.
Many people wonder what do we prepare for exactly? And how do we begin?
Know what to prepare for. Think about the most common emergencies and what might be unique to where you live. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, there are 13 federally identified threats to Los Angeles that include earthquakes and fires.
Plan for evacuations and locate meeting places. Your family may need to evacuate your home for a number of reasons. Make sure every family member knows where to go. This includes extended family, nannies and babysitters, neighbors and friends that may need to help. Depending on the emergency, your family will need to have multiple meeting places.
Inside the home: During an earthquake, be sure everyone knows to stay away from windows and light fixtures, book cases and any other furniture that can fall over. For children, the best way to prepare for an earthquake is to locate the best place to take cover in each room in the house. What if an earthquake strikes while they are eating dinner? Sleeping in their bedroom? Practice your emergency drill in each room of your home.
If there is a fire in your home, what is the quickest escape route? Show children where to go once they do escape outside.
In your neighborhood: Choose a place in your neighborhood that is easy for family members to meet in case you do need to evacuate your home. It could be a neighbor’s house, a mall parking lot, or by the big tree on the corner of the street.
Outside your neighborhood: What happens if an emergency happens and meeting in your home or your neighborhood meeting spot is not an option? Family members could be spread out at work and school. Choose a place where everyone can meet. This could be a friend’s house, your church or a library. Again, make sure nannies, babysitters and any other caregivers know these plans and where they are. Feel free to include a map along with your emergency phone numbers.
Be sure to have a meeting place outside of your city. You never know when danger can strike and you are far away from home. Do you have relatives or friends that live outside of Los Angeles? If not, then find a few hotels that are easily accessible and have their phone numbers and addresses written down so you do not have to do an internet search in the middle of an evacuation. If you have pets this is especially important. Find pet friendly hotels ahead of time so you will feel confident your whole family, pets included, can evacuate if need be.
If you know ahead of time that you and your family may need to evacuate, don’t wait! Evacuate early to give your family the best chance at staying safe. This also helps to keep roads clear for firefighters or police to move quickly to the hazard so they can do their jobs. If you need to evacuate quickly or at night, don’t be stuck running around looking for shoes, medicine or a flashlight. Have all the important things ready in a bag that is easy to grab.
The Los Angeles Fire Department recommends having the six “P’s” ready.
- People and Pets: Have enough food and water for 3 days for all members of your family including your pets.
- Papers, phone numbers and important documents
- Prescriptions, vitamins and eyeglasses
- Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
- Personal computers and hard drives
- Plastic: Credit Cards and cash
Also have first aid kits on hand, and consider having emergency grab bags for your office and/or car as well. Make sure that your nanny’s vehicle is also equipped with necessary items!
The American Red Cross has a great website where you can learn how to better prepare yourself depending on what threat or emergency you and your family may be at risk for.
Also be sure to check out the link provided on our Facebook page from The Nanny Doctor about how to speak with children about gun violence. The tips she provides are not just helpful for speaking about gun violence, but all disasters and scary things that children may be exposed to.
If you have any emergency tips, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.