Emergency Preparedness

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General Preparedness Information

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Frequently Asked Questions


is an emergency and how can I be prepared?

An emergency – be it a natural
disaster such as a flood or winter storm, a power outage or a terrorist act
— can occur quickly and without warning.

Two actions that you can take to
become better prepared to protect yourself and your family are to develop an
emergency plan and prepare a portable cache of emergency supplies that can
be used at home or at work.

Emergencies may strike when you and
your family members are away from home, so learn about plans at your
workplace, or anywhere else you and your family spend time.

Contact your utility company if anyone
in your household uses life-sustaining equipment such as a kidney dialysis
machine or respirator. Your utility can advise you on how to prepare for
power outages.

How can I develop an emergency plan for my family?

To create a household emergency plan,
do the following:

  • Meet
    with your family members and discuss the dangers of possible emergency
    events including fire, severe weather, hazardous spills, and terrorism.

  • Discuss how you and your family will respond to each possible emergency.
    Know how to contact all family members at all times. Think 24/7 and 365.
  • Draw
    a floor plan of your home. If possible, mark two escape routes from each

  • Select two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency
    such as fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you cannot
    return home (a real possibility during the day when most adults are at
    work and children are at school).

  • Identify an out-of-town friend or relative as your “emergency family
    check-in contact” for everyone to call if the family gets separated.
    Make sure all family members have the correct phone number. It is often
    easier to call out-of-town during an emergency than within the affected
  • Post
    emergency contact numbers near all telephones. Include local police,
    fire and health departments, poison control, your children’s schools,
    doctors, child/senior care providers and insurance agents.

  • Have
    your family learn basic safety and first aid measures.
  • Keep
    family records in a waterproof and fireproof safe.
  • Have
    emergency supplies on hand.
  • Teach adults how
    to turn off the water, gas and electricity at main switches. If for any
    reason you do turn off natural gas service to your home, call your
    natural gas utility to restore service.

    DO NOT

    attempt to restore gas service yourself.
  • Make
    arrangements for your pets. Most shelters do not allow pets. Prior to an
    emergency, contact your county or local emergency management office and
    ask them where you could leave your pet. Have ID, collar, leash and
    proof of vaccination for all pets. Have current photos of your pets in
    case they get lost.

What type of
emergency supplies will I need?

Often during an emergency,
electricity, water, heat, air conditioning or telephone services may not
work. Be prepared to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe
longer. Use the checklist below to help you prepare for what you and your
family will need.

Consider two kits. In one put
everything you will need to stay where you are. The other should be a
lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you have to evacuate.

  • Food and Water

    • Bottled Water – one gallon per person per day.

    • Ready-to-eat canned foods – vegetables, fruits, beans, meat, fish,
      poultry, pasta, soup, juice.
    • Milk
      – powdered, canned or shelf-stable brick pack.
    • High
      energy foods- peanut butter, jelly, nuts, dried meats (for example,
      jerky), granola, trail mix.

    • Staples – sugar, salt, pepper, instant coffee, tea bags, cocoa.

    • Instant and small children’s needs – baby food, formula, disposable

    • Specialty food – for elderly or people on special diets.

    • Pet
      food (if needed).

  • Health and Hygiene Supplies

    • Prescription medication – at least one week’s supply.

    • First aid kit.

    • Premoistened hand wipes – premoistened towlettes or baby wipes.

    • Disinfectant no-rinse hand soap.

    • Toiletries.
    • A
      list of family physicians, important medical information, and the
      style and serial number of medical devices such as pacemakers.

  • Personal Supplies

    • A
      change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes for each family

    • Sleeping bags, bedding or blankets for each family member.

    • An
      extra pair of glasses or contact lenses and solution (be sure to
      check the expiration dates).

    • Identification, credit cards/travelers checks/cash, and photocopies
      of important family documents including home insurance information.

  • Household Supplies and Equipment

    • One
      gallon liquid chlorine bleach.

    • Battery-powered radio or TV.

    • Flashlights.

    • Extra fresh batteries for radio, TV and flashlights.

    • Manual can opener.

    • Plastic bags – zip sealing, garbage.
    • Fire
      extinguisher (small canister A-B-C type).

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