SHARED by: Leigh Goldman, Gymtime Mom

We’re a city of preparers – make that over-preparers – especially when it comes to our kids. We prep them for their every milestone, often trying to ensure they hit said milestones well before the target ages. Yet, we don’t necessarily bring that type-A mindset when it comes to preparing for emergencies.

September is National Preparedness Month and it’s about organizing for an emergency, both the natural and manmade kind. Here are some tips, courtesy of the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) for developing a family disaster plan.

  • Pick two meet-up places. Have a plan that names two locations where your family will meet after a disaster – a place right outside your home and another outside the neighborhood (i.e. library, place of worship, community center).
  • Have an exit strategy. Identify exit routes from both your house/apartment and neighborhood.
  • Choose an out-of-state contact. If you and your family get separated, everyone should call the contact. This person can help you communicate with each other and coordinate your next moves.
  • Pack a Go Bag. Keep in mind the needs of your kids, seniors, pets and non-English speakers. OEM recommends packing a bag that’s easily accessible, portable (think backpacks and suitcases with wheels) and sturdy. Pack important documents in a waterproof container, credit and ATM cards, cash in small amounts, bottled water and nonperishable food (granola bars), a flashlight, battery-operated AM/FM radio with extra batteries, first-aid kid, extra medications or information about your family’s medications, contact and meeting place information, childcare supplies, raingear and a Mylar blanket.
  • Share & practice the plan. Make sure each household member has a copy of the plan and the emergency information.

Head to the OEM’s website for tips and resources on evacuations, financial preparedness, sheltering in place and preparing kids for an emergency (including games and interactive guides).

National Preparedness Month was started in 2004 by Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through its “Ready “ program, in partnership with Citizen Corps and the Advertising Council.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and over-achieve in emergency planning.

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