1) Find Out What Could Happen to You
For more information contact us or the local Red Cross chapter.
- Learn about the types of disasters that are most likely to happen in your area. Find information on how to prepare for each.
- Learn about your community's warning signals: what they sound like and what you should do when you hear them.
- Ask about animal care after a disaster. Animals are not allowed inside emergency shelters because of health regulations.
- Find out how to help elderly or disabled persons, if needed.
- Find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children's school or day care center, and other places where your family spends time.
2) Create a Disaster Plan
Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather, and floods to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.
3) Complete This Checklist
- Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.
- Pick two places to meet:
- Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire.
- Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Everyone must know the address and phone number.
- Ask an out-of-state friend to be your "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contact's phone number.
- Discuss what to do in an evacuation. Plan how to take care of your pets.
4) Practice and Maintain Your Plan
- Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
- Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for emergency help.
- Each family member should know how and when to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at the main switches.
- Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
- Get training from the fire department for each family member on how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type), and show them where it's kept.
- Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
- Conduct a home hazard hunt.
- Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Emergency Supplies Kit.
- Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR class.
- Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
- Find the safe places in your home for each type of disaster.
- Quiz your kids every six months.
- Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills.
- Replace stored water and food every six months.
- Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least twice a year.