Your community has an emergency plan. Your children's school has one. So does your workplace. Doesn't it make sense for you to have one too?
Planning ahead for your family's needs can make a big difference in your ability to cope with emergencies. Communications, transportation, utilities, and other essential services could be disrupted by disaster, forcing you to rely on your own resources for food, water, first aid, transportation, and shelter for a period of time. You can lessen an emergency's impact by knowing what to do before, during, and after one occurs.
Develop a Family Disaster Plan
- Meet as a family to discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the hazards of severe weather, floods, fires, and chemical emergencies.
- Select a meeting place outdoors to use if a sudden emergency like a fire forces you out of your home.
- Select a meeting place to use if an emergency happens while the family is away from home and cannot return. Make certain that each family member knows the address and telephone number of the location chosen.
- Make arrangements with someone outside of the community to act as a central point of contact for your relatives and friends who may attempt to call you following a disaster. After a disaster it's often easier to call long distance than to call locally. As soon as possible after a disaster, get word of your situation to your contact person. Each family member should know your contact person and telephone number in case the family is separated. Family members can each call the contact person and tell him or her where they are. Make certain that all your close friends and relatives know who your contact person is, and how to reach him or her.
Be Prepared To Evacuate
In certain situations you may be advised to evacuate. Consider the following so you’ll be ready to evacuate if necessary.
- Keep a list of prescription medications for all family members with the name and telephone number of your doctor. This information is easily kept in a calendar book, planner or electronic devise that you may normally carry with you.
- At home have a 72-Hour emergency supply kit stocked and ready to "grab and go".
- Keep vital family records such as mortgage papers, medical records, insurance policies, birth certificates, marriage licenses, wills, stock and bond certificates, tax records, and other irreplaceable items in one easily accessible location so they can be transported if you must leave quickly. Important papers should be stored in a water and fireproof container.
- Keep your car fueled. Don't let the gas tank fall below half-full during winter months.
- Listen to radio or television broadcasts for emergency instructions. Follow instructions of local authorities promptly and carefully.
- When leaving, post a note indicating when you left and where you are going. Be specific.
- Once in a shelter or safe area stay there until authorities give you permission to return.