How to Prepare for Emergencies

The Metropolitan Boston area is exposed to a wide variety of hazards, both natural and man made. Severe storms, fires, hazardous materials spills, earthquakes, and acts of terrorism are just some of the potential emergencies we may encounter. The Town of Brookline does all it can to prepare for emergencies and protect its residents. However there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family in an emergency.

Consider the Possibilities

Imagine that you have no electricity, no gas, no water, and no telephone service. Imagine that all the businesses are closed and emergency services have not been able to get to you yet. What will you do until help arrives? In a large scale emergency, the initial availability of emergency services may be limited and it is best if you and your family are prepared for an emergency.

Find out how you can prepare yourself, your family, or your business for an emergency. You can also learn what to do in response to a specific disaster, just in case.

Business Preparedness

The following are some basic steps that businesses should take to prepare for an emergency:

  • Develop and display an evacuation plan and test this plan regularly.
  • Identify critical business functions that absolutely must continue and develop a process to ensure these will carry on.
  • Identify employees that can serve as team leaders. Team leaders should be trained to assist fellow employees in an emergency.
  • Maintain sufficient insurance coverage for your business.
  • Prepare backups and store offsite all computer records, such as payroll, inventory, etc.
  • Prepare employee rosters with emergency contact information.
  1. File of Life
  2. Go Bags & Supply Kits
  3. Communication Plan
  4. Vital Documents
  5. Pet Preparedness

What is a File of Life?

The File of Life is comprised of a card insert and a magnetic red pouch to put on your fridge or any appliance in your kitchen that is magnetized. If emergency responders are called to your home, they will go in the kitchen and look for one.

Why prepare a File of Life?

A File of Life will speak for you when you may not be able to speak for yourself. Preparing your vital information ahead of time will allow emergency responders to give you accurate care and bring all your information with you to the emergency room. Some of the important information on the file of life are your emergency contact, your doctor, your preferred hospital, your health insurance, where you keep your health care proxy if you have one, a list of all your medications.

If you have more medication than space on the card, you can ask your doctor to print a list that you can fold and add to the red pouch.

Remember to check your file of life regularly and make appropriate updates.

Where can I get a File of Life?

The File of Life can be found at the Brookline Senior Center, the Department of Public Health and Human Services, as well as the Office of Emergency Management.

What happens if I have an emergency outside of home?

The File of Life also comes in a pocket size that can be kept in your wallet. It will hold exactly the same information but has the advantage of being with you at all times.

If you have a smartphone, you can fill out and activate your Medical ID. Both the iPhone and newer Samsung phones have a Medical ID integrated in the phone.

Make sure to enter all your relevant information and especially designate an emergency contact. The Medical ID can be accessed by anyone without a password. Your emergency contact can be accessed through the Medical ID and called from your OWN phone. This will maximize the chances of your contact answering the phone. Please make sure the person you designate as your emergency contact is aware!