Your emergency checklist

Everyday, we go about our regular day commuting, working, eating out and meeting with friends. However, in the aftermath of the recent Mumbai attacks it is understandable that many of us now see the world through terror-coloured glasses -- viewing our surroundings with suspicion and being more vigilant.

While there is no sure-fire strategy to prevent such attacks from hitting home, there are a few things you can do to make sure you're a little better prepared in case of an emergency.

Here are some of the checklist of items you should have in place.

  1. Most buildings, whether residential or commercial, have a fire safety or emergency evacuation plan requirement. Find out what the provisions are in your residential building and your office premises. If the fire safety drill has not been clearly specified, seek help from the local fire station. They should be able to inform you of the drill and what you need to do in case of fire or emergency evacuations. Fix a common place to meet with family or colleagues outside the building after the evacuation where you can gather and take further safety steps.

  2. Find out where the electrical mains are of both your house/office and building and find out how to turn them off. This applies to gas and water mains as well. All members of the household or office should be trained to know this in case of fire or explosion.

  3. Always have a well stocked first aid kit at home and at work. Check the kit every six months to ensure that none of the medicines or supplies is past the expiry date. The kit should include antiseptics, common antibiotics, water, flashlight, bandages, soap, feminine hygiene products and a few snacks.

  4. Have a list of emergency numbers -- fire brigade, local police station, hospital near your residence and office or college.

  5. Carry your photo identity with you at all times. This could be your college ID card, driver's license, PAN card -- anything that has a recent picture of you along with your name.

  6. When traveling or even otherwise always make sure you have a copy of important documents kept at home or at another relatively safe location, such as with family. In case an emergency should strike, and you should lose your documents such as insurance papers, passport, PAN card, credit and debit cards etc, having a copy will make things simpler to sort out later.

  7. Have an emergency contact. It could be your parents, sibling, friend preferably from outside the city you reside in -- someone who can verify your identity and get in touch with your family to update them of your condition or whereabouts. This person should have information that could be needed in an emergency -- your blood type, major allergies if any, pre-exiting medical conditions (like diabetes, high blood pressure etc).

  8. If there are children in the family, ensure that they are made aware of the emergency contact numbers, first aid kit, local police station number. Also prepare an emergency contact card that can be carried to school with them.