Preparedness Corner
February 2001
By Paul Vircsik

Hi neighbors,

Brrrrr it’s cold. Time to snuggle in front of the fireplace with all the wood you cut during the Ips beetle season. With the house shut up tight and the furnace and fireplace going, its time to think about family safety and I mean the whole family, pets included.

Since family safety is most important, an evacuation plan should be the top priority of any disaster-preparedness plan, whether for fire, flood, or earthquake (yep, Colorado gets lots of them). Design a family plan or EDITH (escape drills in the home) and go over it at the dinner table with everyone. If the unthinkable happens, how do we get out of here and how do we get in touch again if we’re separated? Where do we meet?

Sketch the floor plan of your home, including windows, doors and stairways and make sure every family member is familiar with the layout. Design two escape routes for each room, and designate a meeting place outside for everyone to gather. Then practice the drill during the day AND during the night. Now’s a good time to think about hiding a key to the house and the car outside. Wouldn’t want to get stuck out there without a way back in.

Next come the pets and other animals. They should be included in your plan! Here are some recommendations from the American Humane Association.

I can think of many of my neighbors on my side of the ranch alone who have dogs, cats, birds and horses. Those loved ones are just as precious as people in many cases and they’re "prepared for safety" will make your safety that much easier.

See you all soon,

Meet the author: Read about Paul Vircsik's background