Preparing for disaster helps everyone in the family accept the fact that disasters do happen, and that they can do something about it. Families should work together to identify and collect the resources needed to meet basic needs during and after disaster. When people feel prepared, they cope better.
Take the following actions with your family to get prepared:
· Call your local emergency management office 325/372-8570 or local American Red Cross chapter 325/646-0196 and ask about the specific hazards in your community and about your risk to those hazards. Also learn about community response plans, evacuation plans and routes, community warning systems, and nearby buildings that are designated as disaster shelters.
· Learn about the emergency plans and procedures that exist in places you and your family spend time. Priority locations include places of employment, schools, and childcare centers.
Create a Family Disaster Plan
· Discuss with your family the hazards that could impact your local area, the potential for community evacuation or sheltering, and your community’s warning systems and what to do if they are used.
· Determine where to meet in the event of an emergency. Designate one location right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire, and another location outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.
· Ask an out-of-town friend or relative to be your emergency contact. Following a disaster, family members should call this person and tell them where they are.
· Make a communication plan where all family members know how to contact each other. A form for recording this information can be found at www.ready.gov or at www.redcross.org/contactcard.
· Include provisions for your pets in your family disaster plan.
· Practice the plan.
Once you have developed your plan, you need to practice and maintain it. For example, ask questions to make sure your family remembers meeting places, phone numbers, and safety rules. Conduct routine fire and emergency evacuation drills, test fire alarms, and replace and update disaster supplies.
Next week, we’ll put together a Disaster Supplies Kit.