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Florida Institute for Family Involvement is a not for profit organization in Florida which is primarily concerned with improving and supporting the involvement of families and consumers in the development of care systems that are family orientated and based within the local community.
They act as a resource center for a range of services and information, including help with training to enable people to understand their options and make sound decisions about the services they choose. This is achieved through working closely in partnership with a range of federal, state and private organizations. In its focus on families with children with special needs, FIFI is concerned with some of Florida’s most vulnerable people. They provide an essential conduit between families and the people who make the policies that affect them, always representing the needs of those in that community.
We have no control over when a disaster is going to happen to us. We may get lucky and never have to deal with one, but you just never know when one is possible. You could have to face earthquake, tornados, hurricanes or fires. Some people must face the possibility of flooding. Wouldn’t you feel better knowing everyone knows exactly what to do in the event of a disaster? If you have the knowledge that everyone knows what to do in case of a disaster such as a fire you will rest more easily. Get your family prepared for a disaster. Most businesses will plan for disaster recovery and it is sensible for families to do this as well.
You will want to have escape routes not only out of the house but also out of town. Suppose your town was evacuated because of an impending hurricane. If this happens while you are at work you are going to want to know where to meet the rest of your family. When a town is evacuated you will not be able to get back to your home. Set up a place for everyone to go. It could be a particular shelter or a relative’s home that lives out of town.
If you live in an area that is prone to severe weather you will want to be able to listen for warnings from the National Weather Service. They will inform you if bad weather is on the way. Know the difference between a severe weather watch and warning. A severe weather watch means there is a good possibility that severe weather is on the way. This is the time to make preparations. A severe weather warning means the area is already having severe weather.
Your area may be prone to certain disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes. You are going to want to know what the disasters are that could affect you and your family. You will be better able to get prepared in the case of a disaster if you know what you should do. Once you know what could turn your life upside down make the appropriate plans with your family. You are going to want to have a family meeting that includes every member of the family no matter what the age.
It is never too young to prepare your child for an emergency. You may have different plans depending on the type of disaster. You wouldn’t necessarily go outside during a hurricane but you would if there was a fire. Let the family know where they should meet. There should be one meeting place that everyone goes to outside the home. You may want to have a meeting place in the home if you are in a hurricane area or a tornado area.
You will want to have a way to communicate with your family in case you are separated and need to see where everyone is. Sometimes disasters happen that are during the day while you are at work and the children are at school. Make sure there is a special phone number that everyone has so they can call and report where they are. Use a relative who does not live in the area. It is better to make a long distance call and know that everyone is fine than to try to get through to a local number.
Many towns and cities have emergency evacuation routes. You will want to know where these are so you can get out of town rapidly. You will want a place to go in case of an evacuation. Know where the shelters are in your area and if possible make arrangements to stay with a relative if there is an evacuation.
If you are forced to evacuate don't forget to make plans for your pets. Their lives are important also and most shelters will not allow pets. It is a law that no pets are allowed anywhere that food is served. If possible take them to the house of a friend or family member who is not in the storm area or evacuation area.
Another very important thing you should do is to write down the emergency numbers like the police, ambulance and fire department. Give a list to each member of the family. You may not have time to look the numbers up and may need to get to them fast. You need to check out the insurance you have on home and auto. Make sure it is sufficient for the disasters that could hit your area. Remember in most cases you will need extra insurance for flooding.
Get your home ready for a disaster. If you happen to get stuck in your home with no way to get out of town, the rescue departments may not be able to reach you. Make your home as safe as possible. Things that are loose can fly and fall and can injure someone easily. An earthquake or tornado can make this happen easily. Make up a supply kit that contains emergency items such as flashlights, first aid kit, batteries, blankets and any other items you might need in an emergency. You may want to include bottled water and canned foods that can be eaten cold.
Make sure you have a battery operated radio handy along with extra batteries. If you can find a battery operated TV, that will work too. Show everyone in the family how to operate it and how to work the flashlights. Make sure everyone knows where to find the flashlights and disaster kits as well as the radio. If you get struck by a big storm in the middle of the night you are going to have to see to get your family together and to get out of the house. Most times a big storm will take out the power so you will need your flashlights and radio.
Always practice fire drills to make sure everyone knows exactly what to do. If your town is hit by a tornado your neighbour may need your help as well as your family. Once you get the family safely situated then you can help the neighbours out.