In the wake of many national crises and disasters, the need for increased safety measures and advanced education and preparation becomes apparent. We know that natural disasters can happen at any time, such as the recent destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew; but other tragedies including fires, flooding, or even terrorist attacks are just as unpredictable. The best way to stay safe is to always be prepared. Here’s how you can ensure your residents are as protected as possible in the case of an emergency.
Provide Kits and Instructions
When new residents move in, providing a first aid kit can not only help during an emergency, it can also let them know you care, making them feel more secure in their new home. Each kit should include the basics – bandages, first aid ointments, pain relievers, gauze, tape, etc. Along with the proper first aid, residents should also receive a detailed print out of all exits, escape routes, and common meeting areas. In the case of an emergency, residents should know how to get out of the building and where to go to reach safety. You should always have a common area assigned where residents can gather to find loved ones and seek further help.
Ask Residents to Pack an E-Bag
In the midst of a natural disaster or emergency, many individuals may become disoriented or panicked. Encouraging residents, particularly those with children, to pack an emergency bag can help keep families safe during frantic times. This bag should include essential items including a second first aid kit, diapers or warm clothes for babies and small children, water or small items of food, a light blanket, necessary medications, etc. Anything that families may need that will not be readily available during a disaster is best kept in an e-bag. You can even help further by providing a checklist for residents to follow.
Keep Communication Open
To keep residents prepared and safe, lines of communication need to be constantly open – before, during, and after an emergency situation. Send reminders via email or leave notifications in each resident’s mailbox to ensure everyone has the most updated information. If an exit is blocked due to construction, the common meeting area is changed, or a natural disaster is being predicted in your area, notify residents as soon as possible, so everyone has time to update his or her emergency plan. If a crisis occurs, be sure there is someone in the building in charge of organizing families, checking safe areas, and speaking with authorities. Having pre-selected staff to handle these situations eliminates confusion, panic, and miscommunication which can lead to fatal mistakes in an emergency. After a traumatic event, offer as many resources as possible, and find ways to give families some solace in the wake of a tragedy by keeping communication open and support available.