If you don’t have a supply kit and emergency evacuation plan in place, that has been practiced and reviewed each year, you could be in danger when disaster strikes.
Power could be shut down for days or weeks—do you have a backup generator, crank radio, or backup cell phone chargers?
Planning in advance will help ensure that you and your loved ones are able to escape safely and meet up with each other.
September is National Preparedness Month
September is National Preparedness Month. It’s the perfect time to review your emergency supply kits and family communications and evacuation plans. Plan ahead before disaster strikes.
For specific information on disasters, such as fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other emergencies, visit Ready.gov.
In addition to making sure you have working smoke and CO detectors on every level of the home, it’s crucial to have an emergency supply kit and a family plan in place, and practice it at least once a year with everyone in the household.
Prepare an Emergency Supply Kit
It’s important to have a kit prepared for at least 3 days of survival, such as food, drink, and medical supplies.
Consider having two kits. One so that you can stay where you are and another that you can take with you in the event of an emergency.
You will need a gallon of water per day per person. Water is important for both drinking and sanitation.
Include three days of non-perishable foods that are easy to store, such as canned goods, protein bars, dry fruit, and other items.
If you live in colder weather climates, make sure you have blankets and other warm gear for everyone in the household.
Don’t forget to include things like duct tape and garbage bags that can be used to seal windows and doors and to create a battier between you and any contamination outside.
Items to Include in Your Emergency Supply Kit (as recommended by FEMA):
- Water (one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three0dat supply on non-perishable food
- Battery-powered hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
It’s important to review this list and also consider the unique needs of your family and household. For instance, emergency supply kits should include prescription medicine, insulin shots, and other materials and equipment for individualized needs, such as supplies for pets and seniors.
Don’t forget about the emergency supply kit that should be in your car at all times. This Car Kit should at least include:
- Jumper cables
- Jack and spare tire
- Flares or reflective triangle
- Ice scraper
- Strong flashlight
- Car cell phone charger (a jumper cable kit can also double as a charger)
- Cat litter or sand
Visit Ready.gov for more car and vehicle safety tips.
Create an Emergency Family Plan
Plan ahead of the emergency and practice it with your family at least one a year. Your emergency escape plan should include:
- Family communication plan (review this information at least once a year and make any updates as necessary)
- Evacuation routes (at least two exits out of each room)
- Meeting places (in the home, in the neighborhood, outside the neighborhood, and outside the city/town)
- Emergency evacuation routes from your local authorities (don’t take shortcuts as they could be dangerous and/or blocked)
- Emergency supply kit (don’t forget it)
- Sign up for emergency alerts by downloading the Red Cross and FEMA apps, and texting PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA).
- Consider buying a NOAA Weather Radio.
- What is your shelter plan?
- What is your evacuation route?
- How will everyone receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is your family/household communication plan?
When disasters strikes, you and your family could get separated. That’s why it’s important that everyone in the household has the phone numbers, addresses, and agreed upon plan in the case of an emergency.
Start a group chat now with everyone you wish to keep in contact with during an emergency. That way, one text will get delivered to everyone automatically.
Download FEMA’s Family Communication Plan and fill it out. Print out hard copies for everyone in the household to store in their backpack, wallet, purse, or elsewhere. We also recommend putting the list of contact information on the fridge or another conspicuous place.
Review this document every year and update it as necessary. Add important emergency contact information into each of your phones and devices.
Once you have filled out your communications plan, the next step is to go over the list with your household and practice different disaster scenarios with everyone.
For more information on National Preparedness Month and more ways you can get involved, visit:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- American Red Cross
- National Weather Service
- When It Goes Dark: How To Prepare for Power Outages
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