Discuss the types of disasters (tornado, hurricane, flood, wildfire, earthquake) that are most likely to occur and the best ways to respond.
Establish meeting places inside and outside your home, as well as outside the neighborhood.
Make sure everyone knows when and how to contact each other if separated.
Decide on the best escape routes from your home and identify two ways out of each room.
Establish an out-of-town family contact to call after the disaster to let them know where you are and if you are okay. Make sure everyone knows the contact’s phone number.
Save emergency telephone numbers in and near phones.
Teach your children how and when to call 9-1-1.
Show each family member how to use a fire extinguisher (ABC type) and have a central place to keep it. Check it each year. To schedule fire extinguisher training for your family, contact the Lower Merion Fire Department Office at 610-645-6190.
Install smoke detectors (on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms. Lower Merion Professional Firefighters Local 2844 recommend using a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector and upgrading to a photoelectric smoke detector, which is more effective for warning of smoke from smoldering fires than ionization smoke detectors.
Stock emergency supplies, such as food, water and medications and assemble a disaster supply kit with sufficient quantities to last for at least 72 hours. Store your supplies in a dry, cool place and be sure to include flashlights, batteries and a radio.
Learn basic first aid. At the very least, each family member should know CPR, how to help someone who is choking and first aid for severe bleeding and shock. The American Red Cross offers basic training.
Conduct a home hazard hunt. In a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is a potential hazard. Take time now to look around your home for potential hazards and correct any potentially dangerous situations.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a plan template available at http://bit.ly/FEMAplan.