"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)

Become Informed

  • 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

  • Emergency Supplies

  • 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

  • Sanitation supplies

  • 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.

  • Disaster can strike anytime - are you prepared?