Families come in all shapes, sizes and colors, but one thing all families have in common is that emergencies can arise at any time. While there’s no way to control when an emergency happens, one thing you are in control of is how prepared you and your family members are to handle potential emergencies.
How can a family prepare for an emergency? Continue reading to take a deeper look at family emergency planning and learn how you can prepare your family for anything thrown its way.
What Constitutes a Family Emergency?
Every family has a unique dynamic and individual characteristics. For example, families could be blended, with members of different races or ethnicities. Some parents have adopted children, while others have biological children. As a result of these differences, there is no one type of family more prone to facing emergencies than others.
Because every family is different, it’s challenging to define what events fall under the category of family emergency. However, there are a few examples outlined by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that many families can relate to, including:
- The birth and care of a newborn baby
- Adoption or foster care of a child
- Providing care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition
- Leaving work due to a serious health condition
Whether emergent or ongoing, other types of family emergencies are:
- Attending the death or funeral of family members
- A threat of emotional or physical harm
- Natural or external disaster that puts a family member’s life or livelihood at risk
- Any detrimental or traumatic event that could impact a family member
This list of emergency examples is not exhaustive, but it shows a glimpse at what common events constitute leaving work or school. For example, suppose there’s a power outage at home during the day and your school-aged child cannot open the garage door to get inside safely.
In that case, your boss might understand that you need to stop home to ensure they’re safe and to turn on your backup generator. While this emergency might not be as serious as someone suffering from a heart attack, both are considered emergency situations.
How to Prepare for a Family Emergency
Family emergencies come up every now and then. Some families experience more emergencies than others, but every family emergency requires proper planning. Below are several steps you can take to prepare your family for a future emergency.
1. Gather All Members for Planning
How can a family be fully prepared if not all members attend the planning session? Even if you have small children in your family, bring them to the kitchen table or a family gathering spot.
When you get all of your family members involved in the planning process, you’ll ensure everyone is on the same page.
2. Stay Informed
The area in which you live will play a big role in determining your family’s safety. For example, you might live in a state that has a brutal hurricane season, and your home is located on the water.
These questions should be answered and you should find all critical information about your specific location during this step. Stay informed on evacuation routes and always be prepared to listen to government officials or public broadcasts.
3. Address Your Family’s Specific Needs
Do your family members take special medications? Do any of your family members have a disability or limited mobility? What if your child needs his or her inhaler? All of these special considerations should be made in the planning stages.
Family emergencies require all hands on deck, and each family member should have what they need to support their emotional and physical well-being for an indefinite amount of time. Keep an organized file with documents concerning your family members’ health conditions, blood types, medications etc.
4. Talk About Emergencies Frequently
Your family circumstances and dynamic will change over time, meaning your plans should change in accordance with these new considerations. Your child will grow older, and they might move to another state or decide to have a family of their own.
Members of your extended family could also face emergencies that require your assistance, like a relative having a baby. You can ask when their due date is to ensure you and your family are ready for the new addition! Stay updated with potential emergencies that could happen in the near or far future.
5. Practice Your Plan
You and your family can prepare for some family emergencies ahead of time by practicing your plan. For instance, if hurricane season is approaching, teach your family members how to “batten down the hatches.”
This could mean boarding windows, anchoring items to the ground or bringing in any valuables you don’t want damaged. A plan can only be effective if you and your family practice the steps to follow when certain emergencies arise.
Preparing for Family Emergencies by Being Proactive
It’s impossible to plan for a family emergency in the middle of one, which is why taking a proactive approach and planning in advance is highly recommended.
Different kinds of family emergencies can happen, from someone going into labor, car accidents, power outages or the impacts of a natural disaster. Consider following the tips above if you want to prepare for a potential family emergency.
See some more of my family health posts here