Being Prepared can be the difference between life and death. Your life is important …. Help us help you survive in an emergency!! According to FEMA, keeping yourself and your family safe can be accomplished by staying informed, having a plan, and building a kit.
1. Be Informed
It is important to know what hazards in your community you should prepare for. These hazards can be either natural, such as severe weather, or man-made, such as a hazardous materials incident. Take time to discuss these hazards with your family, including how can prepare for them and how you will respond if faced with one.
2. Create an Emergency Plan
Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it is important to plan in advance what you will do if a disaster happens and you are separated. You should discuss how you will contact one another, how you will get back together, where you will meet, and what you will do in different situations. Discussing what you will do ahead of time will help reduce fear and anxiety if a disaster happens. Practicing your plan is just as important as the plan.
Here are some tips in mind when creating emergency plan:
- Create a list of addresses and phones numbers for the places where your family spends the most time along with family members’ cell phone numbers and work numbers. Each family member should have a copy of the list and a copy should be placed in your disaster supply kit.
- Identify meeting places in your neighborhood (in case of a house fire) and meeting places outside your neighborhood in case you have to evacuate.
- Select an out-of-town relative or friend to be the “family contact person”. After a disaster, it is often easier to make a long distance call than a local call. If separated, family members should call the “contact person” and tell him or her where they are. Everyone must know the contact’s name, address, and phone number.
- Know what to do if authorities instruct you to shelter in place or evacuate.
- Practice and maintain your plan by reviewing and updating it every six months or with any major changes in your family.
3. Have a Disaster Supply Kit
Putting together a disaster supply kit requires very little time or money but can be invaluable to you in the days following a disaster. Your kit should be in a sturdy, waterproof container and include the things your family will need (don’t forget the pets) for the first three days after a disaster. You don’t have to create your kit in one day; take time each week to place a few of the items you need in your kit.
Some suggested items for your kit include:
- Specialty items for infants, the elderly, or anyone in your home with special needs
- Water, 1 gallon per person per day
- Nonperishable food and a manual can opener
- Paper cups, plates, plastic utensils, and paper towels
- Battery powered radio and/or NOAA weather radio with extra batteries
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Hygiene products such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, etc.
- Change of clothing for each family member including a pair of sturdy shoes
- Prescription medications and extra glasses/contacts
- Fire extinguisher
- First aid kit
- Tools, including a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Money, both cash and change (Credit/Debit machines may not be accessible)
- Copies of important family documents, insurance policies, etc. (Store in Water Proof Material)
- Comfort items such as books, puzzles, and toys
FEMA has an In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness. This is FEMA’s most comprehensive source on individual, family, and community preparedness. The focus of the FEMA content is on how to develop, practice, and maintain emergency plans that reflect what must be done before, during, and after a disaster to protect people and their property. Also included is information on how to assemble a disaster supplies kit that contains the food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity for individuals and their families to survive following a disaster in the event they must rely on their own resources.