Preparing Families for Any Emergency

Saturday, October 27, 2012


In the face of an emergency, whether it is weather-related, a house fire or something worse, the best way to keep control is to get organized.
We spoke with Dr. Daniel Fagbuyi, Children's National Medical Center's Medical Director of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management on how to prepare families for emergencies. 

How To Make A First Aid KitThe first step of preparedness is having a first aid kit that is ready for anything. This should at least include:

  • Band-Aids
  • Gauze
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • EpiPen (for children with allergies)
  • Hydrocortisone cream or ointment for bites or stings
  • Benedryl (follow dosing instructions)

Your first aid kit may also contain more items depending on the needs of your family. This list may help you narrow down more choices to include in your own first aid kit.
Next, Dr. Fagbuyi recommends that every family develop a plan they follow during every emergency situation:
  • Find a safe place for the family to congregate outside of the home
  • Give everyone a role
    • Ex. Johnny grabs the flashlights, Susie is always in charge of getting the radio, etc.
  • Create an evacuation kit that includes credit cards, cash, insurance papers and personal identification
  • A list of emergency numbers
  • Extra set of car keys
  • Extra pair of glasses
  • Special items for infants, like diapers, formula, etc.
  • A seven-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Three gallons of water per person>
  • Extra set of medications

Dr. Fagbuyi recommends that updating your kit every six months when you change the batteries in your smoke detectors, to keep all medications and food up to date.  Families should also be aware when weather emergencies are coming. Pay attention to local news and weather reports for the most preparation in weather-related emergencies.
“When you relay [emergency messages] to kids, you want to get them involved in the process and that’s how they don’t get scared – you give them something to do,” he said. Giving your family roles can help alleviate the stress of an emergency situation because they have something to contribute, you’ve empowered them and it distracts them from fear, according to Dr. Fagbuyi.
These are just the basics; check out the American Academy of Pediatrics Family Readiness Kit for more tips. 

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