Do you know what is the importance of having an emergency plan? The thing with emergencies is that they can happen anytime, anywhere. Whether you’re at work or home, things can change in an instant, and you need to be prepared to keep you and your loved ones safe. If you are caught unprepared during an emergency, you and your loved ones could lose property, be hurt, or even die.
While there is no emergency plan that is “perfect” and can cover all possible eventualities, it is still important to be prepared for as many scenarios and outcomes as possible. It is also important to be flexible and adjust your emergency plan, depending on the needs of your situation.
The Four Elements to a Good Emergency Plan
There are four elements to a good emergency plan.
As the old saying goes, “prevention is better than the cure.” Being able to prevent the consequences of emergencies is better than having to respond to them once they arise. Hence, the first step is having an emergency plan in place if you don’t already have one.
Walk through your home or your workplace and look at possible hazards when emergencies arise. Once you have identified these possible hazards, you need to figure out how to reduce their impact during times of crisis. If you are unsure how to do so, you can talk to your local fire department to ask for advice.
Being prepared for an emergency means that you and your loved ones are familiar with your emergency plan. Everyone in your network should be familiar with essential contact information as well as protocols such as meeting places, access to emergency supplies, and even first aid procedures, if necessary.
The third element of a good emergency plan is knowing that everyone in your network is ready to respond should the need arise. Once everyone is familiar with your emergency plan, it should also follow that each person should be able to do their duties and responsibilities during the duration of the emergency. You and your network should be prepared to put your emergency plan into action together. Otherwise, it is not as effective.
The final part of a good emergency plan is knowing how long it will take for you, your family, and your resources to recover. You should be able to calculate how much of your resources will be depleted and create contingencies to keep you and your family safe during the recovery time. This is often the longest part of any emergency plan, and if the emergency is dire enough, it can take months or even years for your situation to return to normal.
What are the Objectives of an Emergency Plan?
There are four main objectives to an emergency plan, namely:
- Secure the safety and well-being of you and your loved ones.
- Reduce damage to your properties and belongings as much as possible.
- Protect your resources (food, water, currency, etc.).
- Recover back to normal as quickly as possible.
To achieve these four objectives, you should conduct a vulnerability assessment for your family, property, and resources. A vulnerability assessment is a study that will show you the possible emergencies that will likely occur in your home or workplace, what necessities you need to have during these emergencies, and if there is anything you can do to prevent these emergencies from occurring.
What are the Examples of Emergencies Covered by an Emergency Plan?
In general, emergencies will fall into one of two categories: natural or technological.
Natural emergencies include earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, extreme hot or cold weather, or pandemic diseases. These emergencies will depend on your geographical location. For example, people who are living near coastal areas are at greater risk for floods and tsunamis, while people who live in landlocked areas are more prone to tornadoes and hurricanes.
Technological emergencies, on the other hand, include instances such as loss of power, loss of water supply, or loss of communication. It can also include fires, structure collapse, or chemical spills. Generally, technological emergencies are more localized and are easier to handle with the help of emergency services such as firefighters, first responders, and police, so you should be familiar with emergency service personnel in your area.
What Events Should Be Considered After an Emergency?
The time after an emergency has occurred is vital. Once you have secured the safety and well-being of you and your loved ones, you should immediately take stock of your situation.
First, ascertain whether you or any of your loved ones need immediate medical attention. If that is the case, make sure that you receive medical care as soon as possible.
Next, asses your property and your belongings, if possible. If the situation has caused you to evacuate, try to coordinate with local emergency responders to get updates on your area.
Finally, try and calculate how long it will take before you can begin restoring your situation to normalcy. For emergencies such as loss of power or water supply, these events might be out of your control. For more localized emergencies such as a fire or earthquake, it will be easier for you to move as a private individual.
The Bottom Line: Always Have an Emergency Plan
Now that you know what is the importance of having an emergency plan, it is also important to note that any emergency plan can change in the blink of an eye. As such, it is critical to treat emergency plans as general guidelines rather than strict rules that you should follow. The main objective is to ensure the safety and well-being of you and your loved ones. Once the crisis has passed, you can then safely ascertain and rebuild any damage your properties and belongings have incurred. Know more about emergency plans.