"Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. What would you do if basic services-water, gas, electricity or telephones-were cut off? Local officials and their relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they can't be everywhere. Families can-and do-cope with disaster by preparing in advance and working together as a team. Follow the steps listed below to create your own family disaster plan. Knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility." (American Red Cross - www.redcross.org)
Learn your community's disaster preparedness or Emergency plan
Learn what disasters are most likely to occur in your area. Request information on how to prepare for each.
Learn about animal care after a disaster. Animals are not allowed inside emergency shelters because of health regulations.
Find out how to help the elderly, or disabled persons, if needed.
Be a Good Neighbor, and help one another. Make plans for childcare in case parents can't get home.
Learn Red Cross First Aid and CPR.
Get training from the fire department for each family member on how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type), and show them where it's kept.(test & recharge)
Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at the main switches
Create a Disaster Plan for your family
Meet with all members of your family and discuss a plan where to meet should a disaster occur. Discuss what steps will be taken for evacuation. Plan how to take care of your pets.
Maintain a Checklist
Post emergency telephone numbers by phone (fire, police, ambulance, etc.)
Teach children how to dial 9-1-1.
Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
Install smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide detectors.(test monthly & change batteries once a year)
Charge cell phones
Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit
Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least 3 days, (5-7 ideal). Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit with items you may need in an evacuation. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, duffel bags, or covered trash containers.
Include in your Disaster Supply Kit
A three-day supply of water, food that won't spoil
Manual Can-opener, Utensils
One change of clothing and footwear per person, one blanket or sleeping bag per person
A first Aid kit that includes your family's prescription medications
Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlights, and plenty of extra batteries, gas filled generator
An extra set of car keys, credit card, cash or traveler's check
Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members
An extra pair of glasses
Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Keep a smaller kit in the trunk of your car.