Saturday, April 10, 2010

Prepare a safe room in your house

In order to be fully prepared for an emergency situation, you should designate a 'safe room' or shelter in your home. This is the room that you can 'seal' yourself and your family into in the event of an emergency.  This room will be useful in the event of a sustained crisis, but should also be prepared for any kind of attack (short or long).

The room you select for this purpose should meet these criteria as closely as possible

It should contain few doors and windows to the outside.

The room should be easy to seal off in the event of an attack.

If you live in a two-story home, the room should ideally be upstairs (as gases are heavier than air and will remain closer to the ground).

The room should be big enough for you, your family and your pets to be able to live together in relative comfort.

You should keep this room in a constant state of semi-preparedness by keeping essential emergency items stored there. At the very least, you should keep an emergency survival kit (see next section) there at all times.

Here are some of the items that you'll need to store in your safe room or bring with you when you enter it

Gas masks and protective clothing if you have them.

Strong duct tape to seal off doors and windows once you're inside.

A first-aid kit and first-aid instructions. Ideally you, or someone in your family, should take first-aid lessons.

Emergency lighting (you should keep an emergency lighting system plugged in in this room at all times, so that it will come on automatically in the event of a power cut).

A radio capable of receiving AM/FM and ideally short-wave. A TV might be useful and could certainly help pass the time, but is not essential.

Comfortable seating for everyone as well as mattresses, blankets and pillows.

Food and water or other drinks. Even in the event of a relatively short stay, hunger and thirst are likely to set in, so be prepared. You can find out more about preparing food and water stocks for a sustained emergency in the next sections of this book.

Chemical toilets and other sanitation needs. Even if your safe room has bathroom facilities, there is always the risk that water supplies be interrupted or even contaminated.

A telephone, if possible, for emergency use. Be sure to include a list of important telephone numbers (police, fire department, hospital, emergency coordinator etc.)

Personal medicines for any members of your family on medication.

Cleaning tools (broom, garbage bags, etc.)

A portable fan in the event of hot weather.

A fire extinguisher.

Toys, books, games and so on.

You may also want to consider buying a room filter that has a HEPA and charcoal filter. These can be bought in most major department stores and are effective in preventing the build up in most chemical or biological agents.

It's important that everyone in your family is fully aware of the safe room and its function in an emergency. Everyone should be given pre-designated duties to perform in the event of an emergency (one person is responsible for food, one for seating, etc.). Write out a detailed list of everything you need, so that in the event of an emergency, nothing will be forgotten.

You should start preparing the items for your safe room sooner rather than later and you should conduct emergency drills with your family every three to six months.

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