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All-hazards Emergency Preparedness for Your Family

Find out what could happen to you.   Sheltering-in-place.
Create a disaster plan.   Evacuation.
Complete this checklist ...   Emergency supplies kit.
Practice and maintain your disaster plan.   Neighbors helping neighbors.
If disaster strikes ... More good information.

( Check-out this "Home Hazard Hunt" )

Find out what could happen to you:

--   Potential disasters in your area may include (but are not limited to): fire, flooding, severe winter weather, hazardous materials incidents, transportation accidents, essential resource shortage (i.e., drought), and acts of terrorism.

--   Learn how your community is notified in an emergency.

--   Locate nearby shelters, and ask about animal care for pets.

--   Find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children�s school or daycare center, the senior center, and other places where your family spends time.


Create a Disaster Plan:

½    Meet with your family and discuss the need for preparedness.

½    Discuss the dangers of potential disasters in your area.

½    Plan to share responsibilities and to work as a team.

½    Discuss specific types of disasters and what to do in each case; learn more about each one before it happens.

½    Pick at least two places to meet: (1) right outside your home and; (2) a safe place outside of your neighborhood that is well known.

½    Have an out-of-state friend or relative be your �family contact�. After a disaster, it�s often easier to call long distance. Family members should call the family contact and report their whereabouts and condition. Everyone must know the contact�s phone number.

½    Discuss evacuation procedures. Who will do what job? What will be done with the pets?

Complete this checklist:

½  Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage.

½  Post emergency telephone numbers by telephones.

½  Teach children how and when to call 911, and what to say.

½  Show family members how and when to turn off water, gas, and electric services at the source; don�t shut off the gas main unless it is leaking or you are instructed to do so.

½  Be sure family members know where fire extinguishers are kept, and how and when to use them.

½  Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, especially in or near bedrooms.

½  Conduct a �home hazard hunt� to eliminate fire & life safety hazards. 

½  Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.

½  Take a first aid and CPR class.

½  Determine �safe spots� in your home for each type of disaster.

½  Develop a home escape plan; know two ways out of every room.

½  Practice your plan�before you need it.


Practice and maintain your Disaster Plan:

½      Quiz family members every six months as a reminder.

½      Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills.

½      Replace stored water every three months and stored food every six months.

½      Inspect and maintain fire extinguishers according to the manufacturer�s instructions (on the label).

½      Test smoke alarms monthly. Be sure they are installed correctly. Change your battery at least annually, or when it is indicated, unless you have a specially made, long-lasting battery.


If Disaster Strikes:

*    Remain calm and be patient.

*    Follow the advice of local emergency officials.

*    Listen to your radio or television for news and instructions.

*    If the disaster occurs near you, check for injuries. Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people.

*    If the disaster occurs near your home while you are there, check for damage using a flashlight. Do not light matches or candles or turn on electrical switches. Check for fires, fire hazards and other household hazards. Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows, and get everyone outside quickly.

*    Shut off any other damaged utilities.

*    Confine, release, or secure your pets.

*    Call your family contact�do not use the telephone again unless it is a life-threatening emergency.

*    Check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or disabled.


  Remember to :

*    Make sure you have an adequate water supply in case service is shut off.
*    Stay away from downed power lines.


If you are advised by local officials to "shelter in place," what they mean is for you to remain inside your home or office and protect yourself. Close and lock all windows and exterior doors. Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems. Close the fireplace damper. Get your disaster supplies kit, and make sure the radio is working. Go to an interior room without windows that's above ground level. In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air, and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed. Using duct tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room. Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.


If local authorities ask you to leave your home, they have a good reason to make this request, and you should heed the advice immediately. Listen to your radio or television and follow the instructions of local emergency officials and keep these simple tips in mind:

*    Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and sturdy shoes so you can be protected as much as possible.

*    Take your disaster supplies kit.

*    Take your pets with you; do not leave them behind. Because pets are not permitted in public shelters, follow your plan to go to a relative's or friend's home, or find a "pet-friendly" hotel.

*    Lock your home.

*    Use travel routes specified by local authorities�don't use shortcuts because certain areas may be impassable or dangerous.

*    Stay away from downed power lines.


Emergency Supplies

Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least three days. Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit with items you may need in an evacuation, especially any �special needs� items. Store these supplies in a sturdy, easily carried or wheeled container.

You should include at least:

*    A 3-day supply of water (1 gallon per person per day), and food that won�t spoil, with plates, cups, and utensils.

*    A 3-day supply of foods that require minimal water and no refrigeration, preparation, or cooking, i.e., canned foods, granola bars, trail mix, etc.  Be sure to include a manual can opener.

*    One change of clothing and shoes per person and one blanket or sleeping bag per person.

*    A first aid kit that includes family member�s prescription medications.

*    Emergency universal type tools, such as a 10" to12" adjustable wrench, 12" pipe wrench, pliers, wire cutters, "vice-grips", screw drivers, axe, pry bar, shovel, and a utility knife with extra blades.

*    Extra vehicle keys and a credit card, cash, or travelers checks.

*    Toilet paper, personal hygiene, and sanitation supplies, such as garbage bags, resealable plastic bags, a disinfectant, pre-moistened towelettes, and a five-gallon bucket with a lid.

*    Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.

*    Spare eyeglasses and/or contacts and cleaning solution.

*    A battery or manually powered powered radio, flashlight with extra bulb, extra batteries, and glow sticks.

*    Duct tape, a whistle, and road flares.

*    Copies of important documents like: birth certificates, driver's license, social security numbers, home ownership and insurance papers.

*    Comfort and care items, such as games, toys, and books, or other items unique to children, seniors, or pets.

Neighbors helping Neighbors

Working with your neighbors can save lives and property. Help them develop their individual plans. Together, plan how the neighborhood could work together, after a disaster, until help arrives.

Medical Reserve Corps

For more information or for first aid and CPR classes, call your local chapter of the American Red Cross or contact your local fire department or rescue squad.


Also, try these web sites for disaster preparedness:              



Try this "Home Hazard Hunt"


During and right after a disaster, any household item that can move, fall, break

or cause a fire is a home hazard. At least once each year, inspect your home to

find and correct potential hazards.


Identifying Hazards:

Check for electrical hazards

Replace frayed or cracked extension and appliance cords, loose prongs and plugs.


Make sure there is only one plug per outlet. Avoid using cube-taps or overloading outlets.  If you must use an extension cord, use a cord that's rated for the electrical load and no longer than is really needed.


Remove electrical cords that run under rugs or over nails, heaters, or pipes.


Cover exposed outlets and wiring.


Repair or replace appliances that overheat, short out, smoke or spark.


Check for chemical hazards

Store flammable liquids such as gasoline, acetone, benzene and lacquer thinner in approved safety cans, away from the home. Place containers in a well-ventilated area and close the lids tightly. Secure the containers to prevent spills.


If flammable materials must be stored in the home, use a storage can with an Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) approved label. Move materials away from heat sources, open flames, gas appliances and children.


Keep combustible liquids such as paint thinner, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid and turpentine away from heat sources.


Store oily waste and polishing rags in covered metal cans.


Instruct family members not to use gasoline, benzene or other flammable fluids for starting fires or cleaning indoors.


Check for fire hazards

Clear out old rags, papers, mattresses, broken furniture and other combustible materials.


Move clothes, curtains, rags and paper goods away from electrical equipment, gas appliances or flammable materials.


Remove dried grass cuttings, tree trimmings and weeds from the property.


Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors and gas vents.


Keep heaters and candles away from curtains and furniture.


Place portable heaters on level surfaces, away from high traffic areas. Purchase portable heaters equipped with automatic shutoff switches, and avoid the use of extension cords.


Safety Equipment

Check fire safety equipment

Install at least one smoke detector on each level of the home, especially near the bedrooms. Test every month and change batteries at least once a year.


Keep at least one fire extinguisher (ABC type). Maintain and recharge according to manufacturer's instructions. Show all family members where it's kept and how to use it.



Secure Items

Check items that can shift or fall

Anchor water heater, large appliances, bookcases, tall or heavy furniture, shelves, mirrors and pictures to wall studs.


Fit water heater with a flexible gas supply line.


Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.


Install clips, latches or other locking devices on cabinet doors.


Provide strong support and flexible connections on gas appliances.


Brace overhead light fixtures.


Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds and places where   people sit.


Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations.



Check your utilities

Locate the main electric fuse or circuit breaker box, water service shut-off and natural gas main shut-off.


Contact local utility companies for instructions on how to turn off the utilities. Teach family members when and how to turn off utilities.


Clear area around shut-off switches for easy access.


Gas and water

Attach shut-off wrench or specialty tool to a pipe or other location close by the gas and water shut-off valves.


Paint shut-off valves with white or fluorescent paint to increase visibility.


Home Safety

Plan how to escape from your home in the event of an emergency.

Identify at least two exits from each room. Clear doors, hallways

and stairs of obstructions. Conduct emergency drills. Practice day

and nighttime escapes, and pick a safe meeting place outside the


*Take me to the emergency preparedness equipment and products.


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