Emergency Preparedness Tips
PREPARING FOR EARTHQUAKE, FIRE, TORNADO, OR TERRORIST ATTACK
Also, see below
Imagine that you have no electricity, no gas, no water and no telephone service. Imagine that all the businesses are closed and you are without any kind of emergency services. What will you do until help arrives?
It is important to be prepared to take care of yourself and your family. Plan to be on your own for at LEAST the first 72 hours.
Many of us tell ourselves that some day we will put together our
family's disaster kit and develop a family plan. But somehow, that day
never comes. We procrastinate, thinking it will never happen to me, or
it will never happen here. The task may seem overwhelming or we just
don't want to think about something as unpleasant as a catastrophic
tornado hitting our city, so we don't - even though we know that in a
major disaster it might be several days before vital services are
Complete these step-by-step checklists and you will be prepared. Integrating preparedness practices into our daily life can become routine, such as never letting the gas tank in our vehicles get below half a tank - if we ever need to evacuate there will always be gas in the car.
The following steps will help you prepare for any emergency:
Make a household/family plan.
Designate an out-of-area contact person. Select someone that is far enough away to not be affected by the same emergency. Provide this person with the names and contact information of the people you want to keep informed of your situation. Instruct family members to call this person and tell them where they are. Long distance phone service is often restored sooner than local service. Make sure each member knows who your family's out-of-state contact is and instruct them to call this person and tell him/her where they are.
Duplicate important documents and keep copies off-site, either in a safety deposit box or with someone you trust. Documents may include: passport, drivers license, social security card, wills, deeds, financial statements, insurance information and prescriptions.
Inventory valuables, in writing and with photographs or video. Keep copies of this information off-site with your other important documents.
Make sure everyone knows where to find your disaster supply kit and go-bags.
Have a flashlight and a pair of shoes under everyone's bed in case there is an tornado during the night. Use a plastic bag tied to the leg of the bed to keep these items from moving during an earthquake.
Plan where to meet after a disaster if your home becomes unsafe. Choose two places, one just outside your home and one outside your neighborhood in case you are told to evacuate.
Determine the best escape routes from your home. Try and identify two escape routes.
Locate the gas main and other utilities and make sure family members know when and how to turn them off.
Practice your evacuation routes, Duck, Cover & Hold and Stop, Drop & Roll drills.
Teach each member of your family how to use a fire extinguisher.
Make your home safe.
Natural Gas leaks can cause an explosive and flammable atmosphere inside a building. The main shutoff valve is next to the main gas meter, usually located on the exterior of your home or building. Once you turn off the gas it may take several days for it to be turned back on. NEVER ATTEMPT TO TURN THE GAS BACK ON. Let the Gas Company do it. If you smell gas, shut off the main valve and open all windows and doors. Only turn off the gas if you smell a leak. Another indicator of a leak is if the unmarked wheels on the gas meter are spinning. Never use candles or matches. Do not turn on electrical switches or appliances. To turn gas off, turn the lever 1/4 turn; when lever crosses the direction of the pipe (across the flow) the gas is off. Keep a crescent wrench or gas shut-off tool nearby to turn the lever.
Electricity can be deadly. Electrocution can result from direct contact with live wires or anything that has been energized by these wires. Know where your homes main electric switch is. It may be a pull handle or very large circuit breakers inside the panel box. Shut off electricity when: Arcing or burning occurs in electrical devices; you smell the distinct odor of burning insulation; the area around switches or plugs is blackened and/or hot to the touch; the complete loss of power is accompanied by the smell of burning material.
Water not only creates property damage, but it can also cause
electrocution if electrical wires energize it. An inside water
shutoff is usually located in the basement, garage, or alley. The inside
water shutoff is located on a riser pipe and is usually a red or yellow
wheel. In either case, to shut off the water, turn wheel clockwise until
off. Shut off the water when there is a severe leak inside the building.
Your basic emergency kit should include: