Emergency Preparedness:

10 emergency preparedness tips to help you and your family prepare for disasters and even terrorist attacks: Internet ScamBusters #94

Today’s Special Issue is about emergency preparedness.  It started as an article on how you can prepare yourself and your family in the event of a terrorist attack.

However, we realized that these emergency preparedness tips are equally useful for natural disasters, so we broadened our advice to include emergency preparedness more generally.

Our goal is certainly not to be alarmist. We hope you’ll never need to use this emergency preparedness information.

However, it’s not difficult to be prepared — and since many of these steps are useful for many situations, we thought we’d share these tips with you.

This is not an exhaustive list — it’s simply aimed at getting you thinking in the right direction.

First, a quick update on last week’s issue: the response to the Q&A format was overwhelmingly positive. So, we’ll occasionally use that format for future issues.

OK. Let’s get going…

10 Emergency Preparedness Tips to Help You and Your Family Prepare for Natural Disasters and Even Terrorist Attacks

To prepare for a natural disaster or terrorist attack requires a level head, a calm approach — and some information.

By definition, many natural disasters and terrorist attack are unpredictable. They occur around the world.

Nonetheless, there are lots of things average citizens can do to protect themselves and their families — and maybe save lives should something happen.

Having some basic information and tools can go a long way toward making you more confident in the event of a disaster in your neighborhood. Here are ten tips to help you and your family prepare for a natural disaster or terrorist attack.


1. TALK ABOUT IT. A ‘head in the sand’ attitude is not a good thing if you want to successfully prepare for a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

Some natural disasters have warnings — including evacuation procedures.  Many others occur without warning.

And we know, now more than ever, that a terrorist attack could happen anywhere, at any time — so pretending that it only happens in the movies just won’t cut it. 😉

You don’t need to be morbid. However, if you can talk about the possibility of a natural disasster or terrorist attack as a family, you can brainstorm ideas and get everyone thinking of solutions to potential problems.

Focus on the types of natural disasters that are most likely to occur where you live.  For example, if you live in Florida, be sure to plan for hurricanes and flooding.  If you’re in California, earthquakes are more likely.  However, also plan for unexpected disasters and terrorist attacks.

2. HAVE A PLAN. Create a basic plan as a family in regard to what you will do if a natural disaster or terrorist attack occurs. A basic plan to prepare for terror should include:

– A communication plan

– An agreed-upon meeting place away from your home or work place

– A family member or friend who will act as a neutral contact for all of you, in some other city

– A list of all the important phone numbers you might need for each member of the family

– If you have children in school, you should know what the school emergency preparedness plan is, as well, and they should know yours.

3. PREPARE AN EMERGENCY KIT. You should have an easily accessible ‘kit’ with emergency supplies in it. Everyone in the family needs to know where it is located.

The kit should include, at the very least:

– A battery-powered radio

– A notebook and pen

– Extra prescription medications, if possible

– A first aid kit

– Dehydrated or canned foods (and don’t forget the can opener!)

– A week’s water supply for everyone

– A flashlight, with extra batteries

– A solar blanket or two for each family member

– Duct tape, scissors, soap and bleach

4. TAKE COURSES. If your community offers any kind of emergency preparedness courses at any time, TAKE THEM. At the very least, take a first aid course when you can.

5. MEMORIZE EMERGENCY EXITS. In any buildings that you frequent, learn and memorize where all the emergency exits are located. When you go into unfamiliar buildings, make a point of noticing where the marked exits are.

Plan in advance — by mentally ‘practicing’ — how to get out of a subway or congested public area.  This is an important aspect of emergency preparedness.

6. BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS. To prepare for terror or a natural disaster at any time, practice paying attention to your surroundings, and think about where you could seek shelter or protection, or hide if you needed to, in the event of an emergency.

This will help you become more aware of your environment wherever you go, and this will serve you well if you need it.

7. FIRE EXTINGUISHERS. Become familiar with different kinds of fire extinguishers and how they work. Practice using them (without pulling the pin) in a hurry.


8. NOTICE YOUR SURROUNDINGS. Should you be caught in a unexpected natural disaster or terror attack, take immediate notice of your surroundings. BREATHE — and don’t panic. (We know that’s easier said than done, but we also know you could save your own life with just this one way to prepare for an emergency.)

9. PAY ATTENTION. If you are in any situation, with strangers, and something makes you uneasy — pay attention. Start moving and leave the situation immediately if you can safely do so.


10. DOING WITHOUT. Be prepared to ‘do without’ amenities you are familiar with and used to accessing. Be patient.

And here’s one more tip for you…

11. HELP WHERE YOU CAN. If your help is needed, offer it. It will take your mind off what’s going on around you, help you feel like you’re contributing — and you may even save a life.

We hope these emergency preparedness tips help you be prepared — and that you never need to use them.

Finally, to end on a lighter note:

We thought you might enjoy the most visited urban legend page last week. You’ll learn the answer to the question: Is the email about getting a $25 gift certificate from the founder of Old Navy true — or is it an urban legend or hoax? Visit now.

That’s it for today. Wishing you a safe, happy, and prosperous week.