Disaster Management Plans

HDMP (Home Disaster Management Plan)

Disasters and emergencies can affect people in most of the part of India at any time of the year, swiftly and without warning. Even small events, such as a power outage, can quickly have disastrous effects for a family that is not prepared. Families must work together to prepare for unexpected situations in their where they live. Family emergency planning can be the key to surviving an emergency. Family preparedness that involves every member of the household is paramount to ensuring that your family is ready for a disaster, whether or not you are in the home. Preparedness keys to success for this type of situation follow:-


Ensuring family is relatively well-prepared for a disaster such as an earthquake, tornado, cyclones, winter storm, fire, flood and other such incidents?


This small step to understand and equip about knowledge related to disaster preparedness would help you come out from a disaster unscathed. Well-prepared family could help save the lives of others, not just yourselves.


Do you believe that the community you live in is relatively well- prepared for a disaster?


Knowing about your community/ Panchayat/ District, Disaster Management Plan? Is there any source of community Information system that you know of? Are you aware of any source of information to prepare yourself for disasters?


Discussing home disaster preparedness with family


If you have a plan of what you will do during a disaster but you haven't shared it with your family ahead of time, your plan may not work! Each family member needs to know how to phone for help, escape out of the house, and seek safe shelter in the house. Each family member needs to know how to be safe when they are out of the home (at work, school, play). Each family member needs to know how the family plans to reunite if it becomes impossible to return to the home.


Do all members of your family know how to call for help?


If you have kids, do they know how to phone for help? Do they know to dial 100 (if it is available where you live)? If you don't have 100, do you have the number of the Police, Fire, Ambulance, responsible friend/relative, etc. near the phone? Do your kids know what sort of information they will need to give over the phone (i.e., the address of the home, their last name, etc.)? Do they know to phone from outside of the house if the house is on fire? Do they know to stay off the phone during an electrical storm?


Have you conducted a home hazard hunt and fixed potential hazards?


Many disasters at home can be averted with a simple hazard hunt. Is the home fire-safe - no frayed electrical cords, no overloaded outlets, working smoke detectors, if any, working carbon monoxide detectors, no flammable liquids near sources of heat or flames? Are working fire extinguishers easily available? Is the home earthquake safe--no unsecured heavy objects (mirrors, bookshelves, etc.), the water heater bolted to the wall? If there is a water tank on the top of the house, then how much water should be stored in earthquake prone zones?


Do you have a Family Disaster Supply Kit?


In your supply kit you will need ALL of the things it will take to survive 72 hours. This will include food and water of course, but also medicines, blankets, flashlights, etc. Even if you don't put together an actual kit (although we encourage you to do so), think about having at least enough food, water and medicine at home with you to last 72 hours.


Do you have a Disaster Supply Kit for each car?


A small box in the trunk of your car, other vehicle with blankets, a first-aid kit, cash, food, flashlight, radio, etc. could literally mean the difference between life and death. Every car should have a kit (atleast a first aid kit). You might want to change the contents of the kit for the different seasons of the year.


Are you trained in First-Aid (within the last 3 years)?


Basic first-aid, for example how to stop bleeding by applying pressure, can be crucial, even life saving knowledge. First-aid courses are often offered by and local hospitals and charitable hospital for nominal charges. Think how happy you (and the victim) will be if you are able to make use of current training in an emergency situation.


Are all responsible family members current in First-Aid?


Unfortunately, there is the possibility that YOU might be the victim! Does everyone in your family know basic first-aid?


Do you have operational smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors?


Having a smoke detector and/or a carbon monoxide detector in your home is NOT good enough! You need to make sure they are operational, that is, they must have working batteries. An operational smoke detector more than doubles your chance of escaping from your home alive. Two good rules of thumb are check your detectors once a month (pick a day of the month, say the 1st, and make a habit of checking the detectors every month on the 1st); when you change your clock for daylight savings/standard time, change the batteries of detectors too.


Do you have a charged ABC fire extinguisher?


There are three basic classes of fires. All fire extinguishers are labeled using standard symbols for the classes of fires they can put out. A red slash through any of the symbols tells you the extinguisher cannot be used on that class of fire. A missing symbol tells you only that the extinguisher has not been tested for a given class of fire.

 

Do you know how to use the fire extinguisher?


Using a fire extinguisher is not completely straightforward and the time to learn how to operate one is NOT during a fire. Follow the four-step PASS procedure. Pull the pin: This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher. Aim low: Point the extinguisher nozzle (or hose) at the base of the fire. Squeeze the lever above the handle: This discharges the extinguishing agent. (Some extinguishers have a button instead of a lever.) Sweep from side-to-side: Moving carefully toward the fire, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. A good practice might be to purchase two fire extinguishers--one to keep and one to let each family member practice on.


Do you know how to turn off all utilities (gas, electricity, water, etc.)?


For a variety of reasons, it may be necessary to turn off the utilities in your home. Do you know where the water main is? Do you know where the circuit breaker box or main switch is? Does everyone in your family know NOT to turn off the electricity if you have to stand in water to do so?


Do you know where your family records are?


If your house burned down today would your insurance papers, household inventory, receipts, other important papers etc. burn too? A great place to keep your valuable papers (marriage certificate, birth certificates, passports, insurance papers, household inventory, etc.) is in a safe deposit box. It is probably not wise to keep your will in a safe deposit box though. A will is best kept with your lawyer or a close friend (if you die it will become difficult for others to access your safe deposit box, making it difficult for them to find your will).


Do you know where your family will meet outside your home in case of an emergency?


If your family is separated during an emergency you should have two contingency plans in place. The first plan should be a place to meet near your home (such as across the street at a neighbor's) if the emergency is something like your house burning down. The second plan should be a place to meet in your community, away from your home, (such as a local business or friend's house) if the emergency is something like your neighborhood being evacuated. By knowing ahead of time where to rendezvous, family members can avoid needlessly worrying about members that are fine and concentrate on family members that are unaccounted for.


Do you know at least two exits from every room in your house in case of a fire?


Most rooms have a door and a window. If the window is a second story window, do you have a way to escape safely (i.e., a fire ladder)?

 

Have you practiced an emergency drill in your home within the past year?


Drills are a terrific way of making sure that everyone in the family (kids and adults) understands and has the physical/mental ability to carry out the plan your family has developed. If kids get confused about whether to stay inside or leave the house during a fire for example, the time to get them straight about it is BEFORE anything happens.


Do you have an out-of-area phone contact?


Believe it or not, long distance phone calls are often easier to make immediately following a disaster than are local phone calls. Does everyone in your family knows to phone the contact to inform about there safety.


Do you know about disaster plans at your workplace, at your children's school or day care, etc.?


Few of us spend 100 percent of our time at home, so we need to know about the disaster plans at the other places we (and our loved ones) spend time. Be sure that you know what the plan is and that it is a sound plan.


Can you list the actual cash value of EVERY item in your home?


You may be asked to create such a list after a fire, cyclone or flood! Obviously, a wise choice is to make that list (often times called a household inventory) well before a disaster occurs. A household inventory can provide you with some excellent information for deciding how much insurance to purchase as well.

Some family members have special needs, for example the elderly, mobility impaired or sick. Do you have a plan for making sure these members will be safe during a disaster?

Check your family disaster plan and make sure it will work for everyone. For example, if the family plan is to seek shelter in the basement or community shelter during a cyclone warning, be sure everyone in the family is able to negotiate the stairs to the basement/shelter. If some members are unable to go to the basement/shelter, make sure you have a second plan in place for them (i.e., seek shelter in an interior room, under a heavy piece of furniture).