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General Preparation

It is important that every citizen be prepared with enough emergency supplies per person to last for three to five days. In times of disaster, emergency personnel and resources are stretched beyond normal capacity and will likely not reach every citizen immediately following a disaster. Below are a few tips to help you get started. 

Family Plan

  • A good way to start is to call a family conference and discuss the real possibility of a major disaster. Involve the entire family in the planning process. Walk through the house together
  • Plan how to evacuate safely.
  • Plan for family members to take Red Cross training in First Aid and CPR. Hold evacuation drills.
  • Determine at least three nearby reunion locations such as neighbors, relatives, local shelter, etc.
  • Decide on a phone number (preferably out of the area) for each member of the family to call if unable to get to the reunion locations quickly. Make sure each family member carries the number with them.
  • Make a list and prioritize the most important items to remove from your home should a disaster occur. You may only have a few minutes, so decide now. Many people start their list with family photographs, important papers and expensive collections.
  • Put together disaster supplies in your home and car.
  • Pocket Family Communication Plan Form

Emergency Supplies

  • Flashlight w/spare batteries
  • Portable Radio w/ spare batteries
  • First-Aid Kit, including three days supply of prescription medications
  • Food - canned or dehydrated food and powdered milk for two weeks (don't forget infants or other special dietary needs)
  • Water - enough for all family members, approximately 2 quarts to 1 gallon per person per day (include water purification tablets)
  • Tools - pipe/crescent wrenches for turning off gas and water as well as a good pair of gloves
  • Sanitation Supplies - large plastic trash bags for waste, large trash cans, bar soap, liquid detergent, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste, feminine supplies, infant supplies and toilet paper
  • Pet supplies - food and any necessary medication
  • Camping equipment is always a good idea to have available

When a Disaster Occurs

  • Use the telephone sparingly.
  • Do not call 911 or tie up emergency lines unless you have an emergency - listen to your radio for news.
  • Wear shoes for protection from debris and broken glass.
  • Immediately check the area for injured or trapped persons.
  • Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
  • Use a flashlight when searching for damage or injured persons - do not use a match or electrical switches because sparks can ignite gas from broken lines inside/outside your house.
  • Check gas, water and electrical lines and appliances for damage - if utilities have been turned off or are disrupted, have a qualified person restore the service.
  • If you suspect damage to any wiring, shut off electrical power - never touch a downed power line/any unknown wire and avoid any object that is touched by downed lines.
  • Check your water supplies immediately - use water from water heaters, toilet tanks (not bowl), melted ice cubes and canned fruit/vegetables in an emergency (never drink water from a toilet tank if a disinfectant chemical has been added to the water).
  • Clean up any spilled medication, drugs or other potentially harmful materials.
  • Use outdoor barbecues, camp stoves, hibachis, chafing dishes, fondue pots or the fireplace for cooking (first make sure there is no leaking gas in the area and check chimney for damage) - never barbecue indoors.
  • Confine pets if walls or fences are down.
  • Be prepared for a continuation of the disaster, such as aftershocks.
  • Cooperate with public safety efforts - keep streets clear and don't drive around sightseeing.