Are You Prepared?
Check out these tips and links for information to help your family prepare for severe weather.
Why Prepare for Disaster? Disaster can – and does – strike without warning. We cannot stop natural disasters, but by planning ahead we can reduce the danger and distress that can result, and possibly limit injuries and save lives.
Prepare a Basic Emergency Plan – Knowing what to do and how to do it can help protect your family during disasters. Developing and having a basic emergency plan in place is one of the most important things you can do.
- Make sure each member of your family knows what they are supposed to do in case of each potential type of emergency (fire, tornado, etc.)
- Make sure each family member knows each escape route in your home.
- Make sure each family member knows where you will all meet if you get separated. You may need to include a location away from your home or neighborhood in case the disaster prevents you from returning there.
- Designate a friend or relative who does not live nearby as the person each of you should contact if you get separated.
- Make sure everyone in the family understands when and how to call “9-1-1.” Post emergency numbers by each phone in your home. Practice “role playing” an emergency “9-1-1” call with young children.
- All adults should be familiar with how to shut off the water, gas and electricity at your home’s main switches.
- If there are elderly or disabled people in your home, or in your neighborhood, give special thought to what assistance they will need during an emergency.
- Review your insurance policies for adequate coverage.
Prepare a Basic Disaster Supply Kit – Pack emergency supplies in a sturdy backpack or duffle bag, and keep them in a designated place so you have quick and ready access to them if you need to escape quickly. The supplies can also be used if you must take shelter inside your own home.
Some things you will want to include in your supply kit may include:
- Water – one gallon per person, per day, for at least three days, is a good place to start. Tightly sealed, unbreakable containers are good for storage. If you have room to store more, do so. Replace with fresh water every few months.
- Food – Again, three days food supply per person is a good minimum. Pack canned and boxed foods that require little preparation and have a long shelf-life. Choose self-opening cans or pack a manual can opener. Take into consideration anyone in your family who has special dietary requirements. Check expiration dates every six months, and replace or rotate your food supply as needed.
- Personal Items – Identification, copies of important documents such as birth certificates and marriage licenses, an inventory of household goods (photos are excellent), bank account numbers, phone numbers, extra house keys or car keys, etc.
- Prescription medications and any medical equipment that is required on a daily basis.
- Tools and equipment, such as battery-powered radios, extra batteries, flashlights, sturdy resealable plastic bags, washcloths, towels, paper cups, paper plates, disposable utensils, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, sturdy trash bags, extra clothing, shoes and socks, blankets and pillows. Don’t forget to plan for those in your family who may have special needs.
- First Aid Kit – Some items you may want to include in an emergency first aid kit are bandages (adhesive, triangular, wound dressings, gauze pads, etc.), antacids, over-the-counter pain relievers, antidiarrheal medications, scissors, latex gloves, peroxide and/or alcohol to clean wounds, soap, germicide, sunscreen and scissors. A first aid manual will be helpful in preparing your kit, and can be included in the kit for reference if needed.
- Plan for your pet – You won’t want to leave your pet behind in a disaster, but you should not risk your own life to save that of your pets. Make sure your pet can be identified (tags, collar, microchip, etc.) in case you are separated. Prepare an emergency supply kit for your pet, with basics such as a first aid kit, food, a leash or carrier, and any medications they may take regularly.
- Consider a generator – Make sure the equipment is properly installed, and that all adults are familiar with its operation before the emergency occurs. Never operate a generator inside your home, basement or garage.
This list is not meant to be complete, rather it is a list of basic items to help you get started on your family’s emergency preparedness plan.
For additional information, check out these informative websites:
Federal Emergency Management Agency www.fema.gov
U.S. Fire Administration www.usfa.dhs.gov
Citizen Corps www.ready.gov/citizen-corps
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention www.cdc.gov
U.S. Department of Energy www.energy.gov
U.S. Department of Homeland Security www.ready.gov
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency www.epa.gov
National Weather Service www.nws.noaa.gov
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission www.nrc.gov
American Red Cross www.redcross.org
Institute for Business & Home Safety www.disastersafety.org