Since 2001, several government agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have declared September National Preparedness Month. That means getting ready for disasters that can strike at any time, like floods, fires or tornadoes. These events affect thousands of families every year and can prove costly if families aren't adequately prepared. To keep your family as safe as possible, pay heed to the following preparedness tips:

"Every room in your house should have two escape routes."

1. Plan out escape routes
One essential emergency preparedness tip is to figure out escape routes in your home. Go room by room with the entire family and figure out two paths, considering the major scenarios like a fire or flood. After each room's routes have been planned, write them down somewhere for safe keeping; some families even create a map. Meeting places are also important, and you want one near the house and one at a nearby site, perhaps the local park.

2. Write out emergency cards
The town of Worcester, Massachusetts suggested that households should create an emergency contact card for everyone in the family. These cards contain each member's personal information, including allergies, medical background and a phone number of one personal contact. Everyone in the family should carry these on their person at all times, or at the very least have access to the cards. It's also important that parents have copies for their children to have the information available 

3. Assemble an emergency kit
No family can truly be prepared without a disaster readiness kit. You can purchase these online, or just assemble your own with the following:

  • Emergency blanket
  • Food rations and water for a few days
  • A week's supply of personal prescriptions
  • Hygiene items
  • Extra batteries
  • Personal documents (insurance card, passports, medical info)
  • Local maps
  • Towels
  • Additional clothing
  • Duct tape
  • Matches

Be sure to keep this kit somewhere in your home that you can readily access.

4. Establish communications
In case of any disaster, it's important to stay informed of the situation both in your neighborhood and the greater town or city. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that families check with their local health departments beforehand. These agencies will provide emergency information through various means, including road signs and emergency texts and calls. It's always a good idea to pay attention to local or national sources, and if the power is down or available intermittently, you might want to purchase a weather radio system.

5. Mind the little things
During both the planning process and actual emergency situations, there are a few areas that often go by the wayside. For instance, you should know how to turn off your home's utilities, including electricity, water and natural gas. These can prove dangerous if left on during some kind of flood or fire. If you ever need to leave your home by car, make sure to have a small kit in the trunk, complete with flares, blankets, a flashlight and extra water. Finally, never forget your pets during these situations, and you should have a smaller kit of their food included in the family's package.

Following any disaster or other emergency situation, you or a family member may require some form of medical care. For fast and efficient help in your time of need, there is always your nearest CareWell Urgent Care Center. With facilities scattered across the Eastern Seaboard, CareWell's team of doctors can treat a litany of injuries, from torn muscles to standard bumps and bruises, and help keep your family safe and whole.