Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make a family emergency plan today!
September is national preparedness month. Is your family ready for an emergency? Talking about emergencies or disasters can be pretty scary, but if we all prepare ahead of time we an rest assured knowing we are ready.
Learn about the best way to prepare based on your location.
Find out from local government emergency management how you will be notified for each kind of disasters, both natural and man-made. You should also inquire about alert and warning systems for workplace, schools and other locations. Methods of getting your attention vary from community to community. One common method is to broadcast via emergency radio and TV broadcasts. You might hear a special siren, or get a telephone call, or in rare circumstances, volunteers and emergency workers may go door-to-door. Get more information about Warning Systems & Signals.
Make sure all household members are able to get alerts about an emergency from local officials. Check with your local emergency management agency to see what is available in your area, and learn more about alerts by visiting: www.ready.gov/alerts. Depending upon the nature of the emergency and your circumstances, one of the first important decisions is whether to stay where you are or evacuate. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. Learn more about Evacuation & Sheltering In Place.
Build a kit ahead of time.
A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
You may need your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days. Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.
Make a plan tailored to the needs of your family.
- Plan together in advance so that everyone in the household understands where to go during a different type of disaster like a hurricane, tornado, or wildfire.
- Collect information and create a paper copy of the contact information for your family that includes: phone (work, cell, office), email, social media, medical facilities, doctors, service providers, and school.
- Decide on safe, familiar places where your family can go for protection or to reunite that is friendly for all family members including those with disabilities, or pets.
- Have regular household meetings to review your emergency plans, communication plans and meeting place after a disaster, and then practice, just like you would a fire drill.
- For help designing a comprehensive plan, download print, and fill out an emergency plan from Ready.gov here.
There are many ways to get involved with emergency preparedness, especially before a disaster occurs.
The whole community can participate in programs and activities to make their families, homes and communities safer from risks and threats. Community leaders agree the formula for ensuring a safer homeland consists of volunteers, a trained and informed public and increased support of emergency response agencies during disasters. Major disasters can overwhelm first responder agencies, empowering individuals to lend support.
- Volunteer to support disaster efforts in your community. Get trained and volunteer with a Community Emergency Response Team, Medical Reserve Corps unit and/or other Citizen Corps Partner Program or Affiliate organization. Many local faith-based and community organizations have programs active in supporting disasters too. View more volunteer opportunities.
- Be part of the community planning process . Connect and collaborate with your local emergency planning group, Citizen Corps Council or local emergency management agency.
- Join or start a preparedness project. Find an event or identify local resources, build a team, choose a project, set goals and serve your community by improving the preparedness of your friends, colleagues and neighbors. Get started.
- Support major disasters by donating cash or goods which may help meet the needs of your community in times of disaster.
Let us know in the comments below what your family is doing to prepare!
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