Everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected. You, as well as your family and friends, will most likely not be together when disaster strikes. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children or parents are safe? You may have to evacuate or be confined to your home. What will you do if water, gas, electricity or phone services are shut off?
Steps to Take
1. Gather information about hazards. Contact your local National Weather Service office, emergency management office and American Red Cross chapter. Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond. Learn your community's warning signals and evacuation plans. Assess your risks and identify ways to make your home and property more secure.
2. Meet with your family to create an emergency plan. Pick two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency, such as fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Choose an out of state friend as your family's point of contact for everyone to call if the family gets separated. Discuss what you would do if advised to evacuate.
3. Implement your plan.
* Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone.
* Install safety features in your house, such as smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
* Inspect your home for items that can move, fall, break or catch fire and correct them.
* Have your family learn basic safety measures, such as CPR and first aid, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity in your home.
* Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local emergency number.
* Keep enough supplies in your home for at least 3 days. Assemble an emergency supplies kit. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers, such as backpacks or duffle bags. Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Keep a smaller emergency supplies kit in the trunk of your car.
4. Practice and maintain your plan. Ensure your family knows meeting places, phone numbers and safety rules. Conduct drills. Test your smoke detectors and NWR monthly and change the batteries at least once each year. Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer's instructions. Replace stored water and food every 6 months.