Storms, fires, and power blackouts are just a few of the emergencies that can take place in our homes or neighborhoods throughout Arizona. So here are several suggestions for you and your family to get prepared in advance:
• Write an emergency plan for how your family should meet up or connect in a crisis — in case you are all separated while not at home. Everyone should have a list of some phone numbers to call to link up with relatives, friends or each other as well as important emergency numbers for fire and police. Make sure those important numbers are stored on everyone’s cell phone. And try to keep those phones charged up every day just in case.
• Have a family plan for evacuation from your house or from your neighborhood, in case of flood or fire, for example. Decide in advance where you should meet if you get separated. Have specific instructions for everyone on what to do in various emergencies. A common sense example: Leave the area quickly during a fire.
• Store flashlights, candles and matches in a drawer or on a shelf in a closet in the house — a location that everyone knows about. These could be necessary during a long or short blackout.
• Keep a cache of food and bottled water (one gallon per person per day) in the house in a spot you have picked for emergency supplies. Include a can opener and a few pots and pans.
• Keep a separate store of cash as well and copies of important documents like birth certificates, insurance policies, passwords and bank account info. Put it in a small metal box and hopefully you can remember to take it all with you, if you have to leave in a hurry.
• Keep a battery-operated radio plus extra batteries near your emergency supply area.
• A first aid kit with bandages and medications is also desirable — along with a whistle to signal for help to summon the rest of the family. Provide soap, towels and hygiene items in this wellness area. A first aid instruction book could also be useful.
• If a big storm is coming your way, close windows, shutters, shades and curtains.
• Unplug any electronic equipment before the storm arrives or when you leave, if you think trouble is getting closer.
• Remember to take important prescriptions or pills with you — as well as water — if you leave the house.
For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for more than 30 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program, heard locally from 8 to 11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) in Tucson and from 9 to 11 a.m. on KGVY-AM (1080) and -FM (100.7) in Green Valley. Call 888-767-4348.