MAKE A PLAN. GET PREPARED. STAY INFORMED. BE INVOLVED.
Emergency Preparedness has several different key steps which individuals can take to be prepared at home, in the office, or in the car. In a disaster individuals should be prepared to be self sufficient for up to 72 hours until professional help can arrive. Being prepared for any type of disaster before it occurs is key to helping minimize the sustained lose.
Get a Disaster Supply Kit
At Home Disaster supply kits can be made for at your home, the office, or for your vehicle. The supplies needed for each depend on the dynamics of your situation. For the at home kits it is suggested that there is a gallon of water for each family member for each day. Half of this is for drinking while the other half is for sanitizing. Non-perishable canned food items are essential for the at home kits. You will need to check your food every 6 months to make sure that it does not expire. Try to include foods that are high in energy, low in sodium, and ready to eat out of the can. Also try to include some comfort foods if you have small children. If you have infants, elderly, or special needs individuals in your family be sure to include their needs in the kits. It is important to have a supply of any prescription medication as well as any over-the-counter medication you may think would come in handy.
There are a variety of items that encompass the disaster supply kit and they can be broken down into categories such as food, emergency supplies, personnel supplies, important documents, and entertainment. Each family has different needs so it is important that you consider the needs of each individual in your family. Emergency items should include NOAA weather radio, flashlight with batteries, tool kit, manual can opener, hand sanitizer, blankets, garbage bags, etc. Click here for a complete list of suggested items for at home kits.
At the Office It is also important for businesses to be prepared for a disaster because they can occur with little warning and it may be essential for them to locate all of their personnel. Depending on the size of your agency can determine how large of a kit you would need. The office disaster supply kit is much smaller than the home kit because businesses would likely be one of the first places to receive professional help. It is important for businesses to have a NOAA weather radio so they can monitor weather hazards. Walk about radios may also be of use so that in a large building you can communicate back and forth to know where assistance is needed most.
In the Vehicle You never know where you will be when disaster strikes. A kit that can be put in your vehicle can be utilized at various times other than natural disaster as many of the supplies are useful for vehicle emergencies. Kits may need to be revised depending on the season. Common items would include jumper cables, fire extinguisher, flashlight with batteries, etc. You may also want to consider adding items if you are going on a long trip. Click here for a complete list of the suggested items for vehicle kits.
Make a Plan
It is important for your family to be prepared for every type of emergency whether it is natural or man-made. By preparing your family ahead of time they will be better equipped to react to a real emergency. This will help minimize any sustainable loss that might occur during the disaster. By creating an at home disaster supply kit your family will be provided with the necessary supplies to be self sufficient for 72 hours. It is important to create a family communication plan, a stay-in-place plan, and an evacuation plan. Knowing what to do in an emergency can help save your life and the lives of those around you.
Family Communication Plan Creating a family communication plan can allow members of your family to get in contact with each other in the event of a disaster. Create a plan where, in the event of an emergency, each member of your family calls or e-mails the same friend or relative. Click here to view a sample family communication plan. Be sure that each family member knows the phone number of the person they are suppose to reach. If there is a problem in getting through remember to be patient as the phone systems are likely overwhelmed. It may be easier to reach an out of town friend or relative. You will also need to assess your current situation to determine if you shelter in place or evacuate the area. Be sure to stay tuned to the local media for the most up to date instructions.
Shelter-in-Place You should also have a plan to shelter-in-place. There may be circumstances where creating a barrier between you and potentially contaminated air could save your life. If there is debris in the air or if the local authorities say the air is contaminated, it may be necessary to create a shelter where you are and seal the room. If this occurs, immediately bring all family members and pets inside and lock the doors; close windows, air vents, and fireplace dampers; turn off air conditioners, forced air heating system, exhaust fans, and cloths dryers; seal windows, doors, and air vents with plastic sheeting that is larger than the area you are trying to cover.
Escape Route It is important to plan an escape route in order to gather your family and designate a place to go. Use sheets of paper to draw a map of each floor in your home. Design a primary and secondary path out of the house from each room and floor. Designate a meeting area near that home and also one outside of the immediate area in case substantial damage is present. Choose a location in different directions in order to provide options. Keep at least a half of a tank of gas in your vehicle at all times and make sure to take your emergency supply kit.
It is important to know and understand the hazards and risks that may strike your area; these may include both natural and man-made disasters. Knowing these risks can be helpful in creating a more effective plan in the event of an emergency. It is also important to know the warning and evacuation plan for your community, school, and workplace. Be able to keep yourself safe and help others by learning basic First Aid and CPR. You can find out more information about these certifications by contacting your local American Red Cross. Also make sure that everyone in your family knows how to operate a fire extinguishing and where it is located.
Not only is it important to prepare your family, but it is also important to help prepare your community. Being involved in the community helps bring people closer together and also provides a venue for community outreach programs. There are numerous ways to get involved with community preparedness. For example Fort Wayne has a local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) which can be utlized in a variety of emergencies when help is needed. For more information on CERT please visit their page on our website. Classes are currently being formed for new volunteers.