Create a Disaster Plan
Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather and earthquakes to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team. Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.
Pick two places to meet:
- Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire.
- Outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home. Everyone must
know the address and phone number.
- Ask an out-of-state friend to be your “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contact’s phone number.
- Discuss what to do in an evacuation. Plan how to take care of your pets.
Complete this checklist
- Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
- Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for emergency help.
- Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches.
- Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
- Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type), and show them where it’s kept.
- Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms. Conduct a home hazard hunt.
- Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.
- Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR class.
- Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
- Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.
Practice your plan
- Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
- Quiz your kids every six months so they remember what to do.
- Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills.
- Replace stored water every three months and stored food every six months.
- Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Water – Store one gallon per person per day with a three day min. on hand. Store in plastic containers
- Food – Store at least a three day supply of non-perishable foods that require no or little preparations
- First Aid kit – You can either purchase these or assemble them at home. Don’t forget band-aids, sterile dressings, gauze bandages, hand sanitizers, antiseptic wipes, gloves, adhesive tape, antibacterial ointment, cold packs, scissors, tweezers, and CPR breathing barriers.
- Medication – Include aspirin/Tylenol, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, syrup of ipecac, laxatives, activated charcoal as well as any prescription medications.
- Flashlights – Include extra batteries.
- Battery-operated Radio – Include extra batteries.
- Tools – Such as a wrench, manual can opener, screwdriver, hammer, pliers, knife, duct tape, plastic sheeting, and garbage bags w/ties.
- Clothing – Provide a change of clothes for everyone, including sturdy shoes and gloves.
- Personal items – Including eyeglasses or contact lenses and solution, copies of important papers, and comfort items, such as toys or books.
- Sanitary items – You’ll want toilet paper, towelettes, feminine items, personal hygiene items, bleach.
- Money – Have cash on hand. ATM’s and credit cards won’t work without power.
- Pet supplies – Include food and water, leash, tags, any medication, and vaccination papers.
- Map – Consider marking an evacuation route on it from your local area.
Prepare a Winter Storm Plan
Stay Tuned for Storm Warnings
Listen to NOAA Weather Radio and your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information.
Know What Winter Storm WATCHES and WARNINGS Mean
- A winter storm WATCH means a winter storm is possible in your area.
- A winter storm WARNING means a winter storm is headed for your area.
- A blizzard WARNING means strong winds, blinding wind-driven snow, and dangerous wind chill are expected. Seek shelter immediately!
When a Winter Storm WATCH is Issued
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio, and TV stations, or cable TV such as The Weather Channel for further updates.
- Be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Avoid unnecessary travel.
When a Winter Storm WARNING is Issued
- Stay indoors during the storm.
- If you must go outside, several layers of lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves (or mittens) and a hat will prevent loss of body heat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs.
- Understand the hazards of wind chill, which combines the cooling effect of wind and cold temperatures on exposed skin.
- As the wind increases, heat is carried away from a person’s body at an accelerated rated, driving down the body temperature.
- Walk carefully on snowy, icy, sidewalks.
- After the storm, if you shovel snow, be extremely careful. It is physically strenuous work, so take frequent
breaks. Avoid overexertion.
- Avoid traveling by car in a storm, but if you must…
– Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk.
– Keep your car’s gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
– Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
If You Do Get Stuck…
- Stay with your car. Do not try to walk to safety.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see.
- Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won’t back up in the car.
- Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
- As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to stay warm.
- Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air.
What to Do After a Winter Storm
- Continue listening to local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions. Access may be limited to some parts of the community, or roads may be blocked.
- Help a neighbor who may require special assistance–infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations.
- Avoid driving and other travel until conditions have improved. Roads may be blocked by snow or emergency vehicles.
- Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of deaths during winter.
- Follow forecasts and be prepared when venturing outside. Major winter storms are often followed by even colder conditions.