Your Family’s Safety Plan During COVID-19 and Beyond
National Emergency Planning and Training Association (NEPTA) is committed to helping families prepare, respond to, and recover from disasters. For immediate assistance, we are available 24/7 at 888-267-9990.
You’ve covered the basics of family safety. Your children know how to dial 911, you’re trained in CPR, and you’ve rehearsed your family’s natural disaster plan. Unfortunately, no one prepared you for COVID-19.
If the coronavirus pandemic caught your family off-guard, you’re not alone. But while you may not have had a pandemic safety plan before, it’s not too late to make one. Here’s everything you need to know to keep your family safe and healthy during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
Staying Healthy During COVID-19
These are the common-sense measures everyone can take to protect themselves from coronavirus:
Cover your face
If you need to leave home, wear a cloth face covering. The CDC has instructions for making a simple cloth face covering to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Wash your hands
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Wash for at least 20 seconds and scrub all surfaces of your hands. Handwashing is especially important after leaving and returning home.
Use hand sanitizer
While not a replacement for hand washing, hand sanitizer is useful when you can’t wash your hands. It’s possible to make your own hand sanitizer using isopropyl alcohol and aloe vera if you can’t find it in stores.
Avoid touching your face
COVID-19 can be contracted through the nose, mouth, and eyes. Avoid touching your face and wash your hands after touching your face, coughing, or sneezing.
Disinfect high-touch surfaces
Light switches, countertops, doorknobs, faucets, phones, and remote controls are among the high-touch surfaces that should be disinfected daily. Use alcohol-, bleach-, or hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners for maximum effectiveness against coronavirus.
Improving Your Family’s Emergency Plan
After your family gets through the coronavirus pandemic, start thinking about ways you can bolster your household’s emergency plan.
Stock up on household goods
As families have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding what you need at the grocery store is challenging in a disaster. While every household should have three days of nonperishable food and water for natural disasters, Money Talks News recommends stocking up on a two-month supply of household items such as toilet paper, cleaning products, and pantry staples.
Prepare for power outages
Power outages can happen for a variety of reasons. If an outage is prolonged, you could lose hundreds in food or face unsafe temperatures inside your home. Portable generators offer cheap assurance that you’re protected if the power goes out. Pay attention to the power source as well as runtime when buying a generator. You can find portable generators that run on gas, propane, or battery depending on your preference and price range.
Invest in storage
Whether you need to store non-perishable food, keep belongings dry in floodwaters, or protect important documents from fire, good storage is invaluable. Leak-proof plastic containers are a good choice for food and electronics, but for your most valuable items and paperwork, invest in water- and fireproof safes.
Fortify your home
Your home should remain the safest place for your family. Beyond the cleaning measures detailed above, you should also take measures to ensure that your house can truly protect your family, especially if you ever need to hunker down in it again for long periods. This will entail making sure that your home’s systems (e.g., HVAC, plumbing, electrical, etc.) are not only fully functional but in tip-top condition to comply with fire and safety regulations.
Security is also of utmost concern. Visit a website like Angi and find a local locksmith to ensure that door and window locks throughout your home are in good condition — and replace them as necessary. It’s a good idea to choose a professional who is affiliated with the Associated Locksmiths of America and is sufficiently insured and licensed so you can guarantee their repute — your home’s security is literally in their hands, after all. If budget permits, you can also look into adding smart home security measures for added peace of mind.
Know your neighborhood
Every family should identify a neighborhood meeting spot in case of an emergency at home, but that’s not the only way your community can be an asset. Teach your children to identify neighborhood resources they can rely on in an emergency, from food pantries to neighbors who can lend a hand. In turn, consider how your family can be an asset to your neighbors. Is there a senior next door or an essential worker who may need extra support? By getting to know your neighbors, you build a village that can come together in an emergency.
You can’t plan for everything, but there are steps you can take to prepare your family for the worst — whatever that may be. Instead of letting the coronavirus pandemic fill you with fear, take it as a sign that it’s time to revisit your family’s emergency plan. With a few extra precautions, you can feel confident that your family will be safe no matter what life brings your way.
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