Emergency Preparedness

V. Emergency Preparedness

Perhaps the most critical test of your preparedness will be in time of emergency. Developing and rehearsing an emergency action plan will add precious time needed for response to a crisis. This is true on a day hike, overnight or longer troop camp, and all other activities.

Emergency Preparedness Plan

  1. Planning ahead is the first step to a calmer and more assured disaster response. Determine what kinds of natural and man-made disasters and emergencies could occur in your community. Make a list of them, then discuss each one and what you should do as a group in each situation. For each type of emergency, establish responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team. Because some family members might not be at home at the time of an emergency, designate alternates in case someone is absent.
  2. Be sure everyone in the family can recognize the different sounds made by smoke, heat, and motion detectors, burglar alarms, fire alarms, and community sirens and warning signals, and know what to do when they hear them.
  3. Discuss what to do if evacuation from your house is necessary. Be sure everyone in the family knows that in that case, they must not hesitate, but must get out as soon as possible and after they are outside someone should call for help. Agree on an outdoor meeting place for the family, such as a particular neighbor's front porch.
  4. Be sure everyone in the family knows how to call 911 (if your community has that service) and other local emergency numbers; and how to call on different kinds of phones, such as cell phones. Gather and post other emergency numbers, such as poison control, the family doctor, a neighbor and an out-of-town person who are your family's emergency contacts, a parent's work number and cell number, etc. Post all emergency numbers near every telephone in the house and make copies for everyone to carry with them.
  5. Because emergency responders will need an address or directions on where to send help, be sure all family members know how to describe where they can be found. Post your address near each telephone in the house. When dealing with the stress of an emergency, even adult family members could fail to recall details correctly.
  6. Plan an out-of-town evacuation route and an out-of-town meeting point, in the event all family members aren't together at the same time to evacuate. The meeting point might be the home of a family member in another city or a hotel or landmark known to all family members.
  7. Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case the chosen roads are impassable or grid-locked.
  8. Practice earthquake, tornado, and fire drills at home, work, and school periodically.
  9. Be sure all family adults and older children know that in case of emergency, it is their responsibility to keep the family together, to remain calm, and explain to younger family members what has happened and what is likely to happen next.

Emergency Preparedness Kit

What you have on hand when a disaster happens could make a big difference. Plan to store enough supplies for everyone in your household for at least three days.

Water

Have at least one gallon per person per day.

Food

Pack non-perishable, high-protein items, including energy bars, ready-to-eat soup, peanut butter, etc. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water.

Flashlight

Include extra batteries.

First aid kit

Include a reference guide.

Medications

Don't forget both prescription and non-prescription items.

Battery-operated radio

Include extra batteries.

Tools

Gather a wrench to turn off gas if necessary, a manual can opener, screwdriver, hammer, pliers, knife, duct tape, plastic sheeting, and garbage bags and ties.

Clothing

Provide a change of clothes for everyone, including sturdy shoes and gloves.

Personal Items

Remember eyeglasses or contact lenses and solution; copies of important papers, including identification cards, insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, etc.; and comfort items such as toys and books.

Sanitary supplies

You'll want toilet paper, towelettes, feminine supplies, personal hygiene items, bleach, etc.

Money

Have cash. (ATMs and credit cards won't work if the power is out.)

Contact information

Include a current list of family phone numbers and e-mail addresses, including someone out of the area who may be easier to reach by e-mail if local phone lines are overloaded. A blank Emergency Contact List form is included in this section for your use.

Pet supplies

Include food, water, leash, litter box or plastic bags, tags, medications, and vaccination information.

Map

Consider marking an evacuation route on it from your local area.

Emergency preparedness includes being prepared for all kinds of emergencies, able to respond in time of crisis to save lives and property, and to help a community—or even a nation—return to normal life after a disaster occurs. It is a challenge to be prepared for emergencies in our world of man-made and natural phenomena. The Emergency Preparedness BSA program is planned to inspire the desire and foster the skills to meet this challenge in our youth and adult members so that they can participate effectively in this crucial service to their families, communities, and nation.

When an emergency occurs, it affects every youth and adult member of BSA in the immediate area, creating the responsibility to respond: first, as an individual; second, as a member of a family; and third, as a member of a Scouting unit serving the neighborhood and community. To meet these varied responsibilities, the Emergency Preparedness BSA plan includes preparedness training for individuals, families, and units.

Download an Emergency Contact List to use. (PDF)

Reference: Emergency Preparedness, No.19-304