Many of us think about what we would do in the event of an emergency or disaster, but few of us are able to actually know how to help if the situation arises. Would you know what to do in an emergency? Here are a few tips to help you prepare.
While none of us ever wants to find ourselves in an emergency situation, the fact is that most people will experience a disaster at some point. The real question is whether or not we will be prepared and know what to do when it happens.
First, it is wise to have an emergency survival kit or emergency supplies in case you need them before the emergency responders arrive. Remember, in case of a natural disaster, there will more than likely be lots of other people in your same situation–needing the emergency assistance.
Emergencies can take many forms such as injuries at home or work, residential fires, natural disasters, or terrorist attacks. While there are government programs in place to help in the case of widespread disasters, private emergencies often are impacted by our own quick thinking and preparedness, the result of which could be a life or death situation.
While we may not have control over the environment when it comes to public places, in our own homes we can plan for emergencies to some extent. When a home emergency occurs and we need help, we most frequently call 911 for assistance. The most important thing to keep in mind in any emergency is to stay calm. This is particularly important when calling 911, so that the appropriate information can be relayed. With this in mind, two key pieces of information that you will need to give the emergency dispatcher are what kind of an emergency you have and where you are located. The dispatcher may ask you to provide additional information, if needed, and follow their directions as to what to do next.
Providing your location to the dispatcher probably seems very easy. After all, everyone knows their own home address, and if you’re calling from your home telephone number, the dispatcher probably already has access to your address anyway. However, many emergency calls are placed from cell phones, and in this case, the dispatcher often does not know where you are calling from. Therefore, you should always be aware of your exact location. Furthermore, if you have a guest staying in your home (or a babysitter watching your children), make sure they are prepared to give your street address, should an emergency situation arise. Once your location is relayed to the emergency team, their next job is to find you.
Second, you can impact their response time by assuring that your property is easily identifiable. Large, easy to read house numbers are critical. Also keep in mind that many emergency 911 calls are placed at night, so a lighted address sign is also a good idea. Some municipalities have found this to be so important that they have ordinances regarding house markers.
Here are a few important things to consider when choosing house numbers or an address sign for your home:
1. Post your house number where it is best seen from the street and visible from all angles.
2. Use large numbers and letters that are easily viewed from a distance.
3. Be sure that your numbers are reflective or a contrasting color to the area they are mounted on for maximum visibility.
4. Light your house number at night.
5. If your house number is painted onto the curb in front of your house, be sure it is not blocked by parked cars, garbage cans, etc.
6. Be sure not to hang holiday decorations, such as wreaths, where they would block your house number.
7. If your home is not visible from the street, it is recommended that you post your house number at the entrance of your driveway in large reflective numbers that can be viewed from either direction.
8. Keep your house marker clear of snow and other debris
We are fortunate to have emergency responders who we can call upon in emergency situations. Because we depend on these individuals to help us in emergencies, it is our duty to provide them with the tools they need to do their job well, such as clear communication when calling and an easily identifiable home. With a little advance planning, you can rest easy knowing that you are prepared for the next emergency situation to come.
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