Find out about any specific hazards that threaten your community (tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, etc) and about your risk from the hazards. Review the local disaster plans on file at the library.) Find out about evacuation plans and designated emergency shelters. If you don't drive, find out how the emergency responders will evacuate those without transportation. Are you aware of our local warning systems, how they work, and when they would be deployed? How will you find information before, during, and after a disaster. Learn about NOAA Weather Radio and it's alerting capabilities at www.noaa.gov.
Meet with your family and review all the information you learned about the community hazards and plans. Explain the dangers to your children and work with them; teaching them how to prepare and what to do. Include any family caregivers in your planning efforts.
Choose an out of town contact. Ask an out of town friend or relative to be your contact. Following a disaster, family members should contact the out of town contact and let them know they are safe and where they are. Make sure all your family members know the number of your out of town contact.
Decide where to meet. In the event your family becomes separated, choose a place right outside your home to meet and choose a location outside your neighborhood in case it isn't safe to return home.
Complete a family communications plan. Include contact information for family members, work, school, and your out of town contact. Include the locations where your family will meet, if separated. A sample form for this information can be found at www.ready.gov or at www.redcross.org/contactcard. These websites also provide blank wallet cards for this information. Teach your children how to call for help when appropriate to do so. Give each member of your family a copy of the plan and post one beside each telephone.
Escape routes and safe places. In a fire or other emergency, you may need to evacuate. Be sure your family is aware of more than one escape route as well as where the safe places are in your home to shelter in place during a tornado, storm, flood, etc. (In a storm or tornado, go to the basement, lowest floor in your home or an interior room or closet without windows.) Practice evacuation drills at least two times a year or as often as you update your plans and make sure you test alternate routes each time.
Draw floor plans of your home indicating the location of disaster supply kits, fire extinguishers, collapsible ladders, first aid kits and utility shut off points. Teach your family about using each of these items.
Plan for those with disabilities or special needs, keeping support items in a designated place. Provide the power company with a list of all power dependent life support equipment required. Develop an alternate power source for the equipment or a plan for relocating the person.
Plan for your pets. Take them with you if you evacuate. Be aware that pets, other than service animals, are usually not permitted in emergency shelters. Prepare a list of family, friends, boarding facilities, veterinarians, and pet friendly hotels that could shelter your pets during an emergency.
Action Checklist - Items to do before a disaster
Utilities - Know how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity and share this information with your family. Keep the tools you need next to the cut offs.
Fire Extinguishers - Make sure everyone knows where they are and how to use them.
Smoke Alarms - Install them throughout your house, test the batteries and the alarms once a month.
Insurance Coverage- Check and make sure you have the proper homeowner coverage, including flood damage and other man made and natural disasters.
First Aid/CPR/AED - Get everyone involved and take a class. One of you might save a life.
Inventory Home Possessions - Create a written record of all your possessions and then take pictures or a video of them. Keep these records off site in a safe place. Make sure and include values, serial numbers, model numbers, and any appraisals of jewelry, art, antiques, or collectibles.
Vital Records & Documents - Birth certificates, marriage license, social security cards, passports, wills, deeds, financial records, insurance and immunization records should be kept in a fire safe, safe deposit box, or other safe location.
Reduce Home Hazards- Repair defective wiring and gas connections. Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves and hang pictures and mirrors away from beds. Use straps or restraints to secure tall cabinets, bookshelves, appliances, mirrors, shelves, large picture frames and light fixtures to wall studs. Repair cracks in ceilings, walls, and foundations. Store week killers, pesticides and flammable products away from heat sources. Place oily rags or waste in covered metal cans or dispose of them properly. Have your chimney cleaned and repaired by a professional.
Store these items in portable containers that are water proof and as close to the exits of your home as possible. Review the contents twice a year and consider having emergency supply kits in your vehicles.
• 3 day supply of nonperishable food and water (one gallon per person per day)
• A manual can opener
• Portable battery powered radio or television with extra batteries
• Flashlight and extra batteries
• First aid kit and manual
• Sanitation and hygiene items (hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, toilet paper, soap, shampoo)
• Matches in waterproof container
• Extra Clothing and blankets
• Kitchen accessories and utensils
• Photocopies of IDs and credit cards
• Cash and coins
• Pet supplies
• Map of the area
• Any other items to meet your families immediate needs
Special Needs Items
• Eye glasses
• Contact lens solution
• Hearing aid batteries
Items for Infants
• Long pants
• Long sleeve shirts
• Sturdy shoes
• Sleeping bags or blankets
• First aid kit and manual
• White distress flag
• Tire repair kit
• Jumper cables
• Bottled water
• Nonperishable foods
• Shade items
• Windshield scraper
• Florescent distress flag
Quiz your family on the plan and what to do every six months. Drill for fire and other evacuations on a regular basis using alternate exit routes. Restock the food supplies, water, batteries, and medications every six months. Test your smoke alarms and ensure your fire extinguishers are working.