Drills & Exercises
Put together a list of the most likely threats you will face based on:
- Historical data on past disasters that have affected your region.
- Local crimes stats and dangers that are specific to your geographical location.
- Anything that is unique to your situation, such as economic problems, medical issues, local dangers, and people in your group who require extra attention.
Based on the identified threats, you need to put together the following plans.
- A Home Evacuation Plan: This is a basic plan that lists the steps you will take during an emergency that would make your home unsafe; this includes planning for things like a fire, an earthquake or home invasions.
- A bug out plan: Your bug out plan takes your evacuation plan to the next level. It takes into consideration disasters that would cause you to have to leave not only your home but your neighborhood, city, and possibly even state.
- A get home plan: If you work away from home, travel, or even drive to the local grocery store you should have some sort of plan that accounts for disasters that happen while away from home.
- A communication plan: During a disaster, it’s very likely that most communication channels will go down. You need to develop an Emergency Communications Plan, so you can immediately get ahold of those you love.
Safety Drills: Conducting routine safety drills.
Once you have your plans in place, you need to figure out if those plans actually work. One of the best ways to prepare yourself and your family for disasters and threats, as well as discover any holes in your plans, is to conduct periodic emergency safety drills.
These drills should be based on the threats you identified in your planning. While everyone’s drills will be a little different, here are some ideas to get you started.
Home Fire Drills
When it comes to likely threats, fires should be on top of everyone’s list. Every year there are over 1 million fires in the United States, killing over 3,000 people and injuring tens of thousands more.
If you have children who attend public school, they are probably already pretty familiar with fire drills; so having one at home might be a good place to start.
The first time you conduct the drill, everyone in your home should be aware of the exercise. The first one should not be a surprise; you want to go through every step of the process in a slow and deliberate manner.
Once you’ve gone through the drill, and you’re sure everyone knows what they are supposed to do, you should then schedule a surprise drill early in the morning before everyone wakes up. The shock will help simulate a real emergency, and can give you a good idea how they will respond during a real fire.
Things you should include in your drill.
- To start the drill, press the test button on your fire alarm and scream “FIRE DRILL, FIRE DRILL.” The noise from the alarm will help simulate the real deal.
- Based on your evacuation plan, everyone in the home should follow their emergency routes out to your predetermined meeting point (usually somewhere right outside your home).
- Practice Touching the door to see if it’s hot, and make sure everyone has an alternative route out in case the door is blocked by fire.
- Practice what to do in case there is smoke. Grab something to cover your mouth, Get Low and Go.
- Throw a monkey wrench into the plan, and practice alternative routes out of the home.
Natural Disaster Drills: Safety Drills for Earthquakes, Tornadoes, and Hurricanes.
While your exact plans will vary, based on the actual disaster, these types of drills are not much different than the fire drill. The primary purpose of all of these drills is to go through the steps that you identified in your emergency planning phase, and test those plans in a mock scenario.
Things you should include in your disaster drill.
- Make sure the drill is realistic. Try to simulate things that would happen during the disaster. Shut off the power, turn off cell phones, and conduct yourself as if you are actually in the middle of the disaster.
- Practice your evacuation routes. Make sure everyone is familiar with the evacuation plan, and can safely make it to any meetup points that you identified in your planning.
- Practice your communication plan. Go through your list, and make sure you can contact people without using your cell phone.
- Practice what you would do if disaster hit while away from home.
- Make sure you go through the steps you would actually take during the disaster. That means doing thing like grabbing your bugout bag and going through all of the steps you plan on taking during a real disaster.