Eight ideas to keep you safe and prepared for the unexpected



Many local families will embark on spring break vacations this year to destinations across the country, often to enjoy some fun in the sun.  Whether youíre planning a trip to a theme park, the beach or even the mountains, the Milford Chapter offers some helpful tips to ensure the safety of your family.


    1.  Update your family communication plan: Make sure each traveler in your family has an updated list of telephone numbers and email addresses of essential contacts.  Additionally, each person should have a way to be able to make long-distance telephone calls without using a cell phone.  (In times of disaster, cell phones get overloaded and may not work.  Having a calling card with toll free access over "landlines" may be the only way you can contact family members if you are separated when disaster strikes.)


     2. Determine what disasters regularly occur in your vacation destinations: First, talk with your family about the disasters that can happen in the area youíre visiting.  Learn the names of the county(ies) you will be visiting, because severe weather warnings are given by county name.  Calmly explain the potential dangers and plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team. Make sure every family member knows their particular responsibilities.


    3.  Establish an out-of-town friend to be your "family contact":  After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance over landlines. Separated or affected family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contact's phone number and e-mail address.


    4.  Proper Identification:  Make sure to have a photo ID for each member of the household, including children. Bring passports if traveling outside the U.S., even if a passport is not required in some countries.  If a disaster happens at your home while you are away, you may need to have a photo ID to be admitted to your neighborhood upon return.  If no photo ID is available for some family members, at least have a current photo and important information, such as each memberís full name, date of birth and social security number. (If a child gets lost, this information will prove invaluable.)


    5. Driving to your destination?  Pack essential emergency supplies:  Include a battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries; a blanket; jumper cables; a fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type); a first aid kit and manual; bottled water and nonperishable high-energy foods, such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter; maps; a shovel; a tire repair kit and pump; tools, such as pliers and a small hammer; and flares.


    6. Flying to your destination?  Pack essential emergency supplies.  Flares arenít permitted or needed on an airplane, but you should take essential supplies to have with you when you get to your destination, including a flashlight for each family member and extra batteries; a battery-powered radio; a small first aid kit; essential medications, and copies of prescriptions (in case they need to be filled locally).


  7. Protect your family from the weather with travel essentials:  Even if youíre traveling to not-so-warm climates bring sunscreen; sunglasses; hats, at least one pair of long pants and a long sleeved shirt for each person in your family and travel games for entertainment.


 8. Double check your blood donation appointment: Be sure to schedule your regular blood donation appointment around travel time.  If a previously scheduled appointment happens to coincide with travel plans, be sure to reschedule.  And remember, eligible donors can donate blood every 56 days.


For additional information on "How to Prepare your Family", call the Milford Chapter at (203) 874-2531



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