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Preparing for a Disaster

Prepare for a flood, hurricane, earthquake

Make a plan

You and your family must work out what they will do in case of a disaster. Come up with a simple plan that everyone can remember. Set up telephone numbers and email to each other, as well as have an out of state or area person to contact. This person should be contacted by all family members to keep an account of who is safe and accounted for.

It is a good idea to keep coin money or have a prepaid phone card in your car or home for just such purposes. Your cell phone may be dead. Be aware that a smart phone and text messaging may be the only way to get through. The land lines may be down. The cell towers may be down.

Be sure and monitor television, radio, and internet news for the latest updates on the disaster situation.

Determine a room that all family members will go to in case of an emergency. Perhaps an inner bathroom or closest. One that is away from windows. Some disasters may require a meeting place outdoors. Get this site set with all family members. Be sure your emergency kit is very close to this location, or a quick grab and run.

If you have time, lock all doors and windows. It is a good idea to turn off air conditioning and heaters. Outside contaminants may clog them or get inside your house.

If you have time and it is safe, bring your pets indoors as well.

Be sure and be familiar with roads in and out of your neighborhood and how to get out. If you are asked to evacuate, the local authorities will direct you.

Be sure and grab your emergency survival supply kit.

Check with your child's school and make sure you and your child are familiar with their plans. Your place of employment should have one as well. If not, you may need to initiate one.

Another tip is to fill the bathtub with water for a backup supply in case the water gets turned off.

Stay away from all doors and windows.

Talk to your local utility companies as to what they would like you to turn off.

Be open to all directions and suggestions by local emergency personnel in case of an emergency. You can call FEMA for tips at 1-800-BE-READY (1-800-237-3239)

Evacuation Tips

Always have at least a half tank of gas in your car at home. You may need to leave and the gas stations may be down. Be sure and keep a little cash in small bills on hand in case places of business only take cash.

If evacuation is eminent, park your car in the driveway, packed with emergency supplies, and facing out the driveway ready to go.

Local emergency personnel will direct you. Listen carefully. You may only need to go to a shelter for a little time. Again, a small supply kit is desirable.

If you are driving and get trapped, park in as safe a place as possible depending on what disaster is happening. Talk to your local police and fire department as to what disasters your are are prone to. Flood, fire, tornado, etc. Close all windows and lie on the floor. Try calling 911 with your cellphone.

Above all, you must stay calm.

Watch out for downed power lines.

Local authorities should be able to direct you as to how to evacuate pets and livestock.

When you return, be sure and arrive into your house and property with caution. There may be hidden damage and dangers due to fallen power lines and trees.

If law enforcement tells you to evacuate, you should evacuate. You will only hinder them from doing their jobs if you stay. You may think you can ride it out. Don't do it. You need to realize that if emergency personnel have to defend life, they will do it before property. You will cause a delay and make it worse for others by staying. Once everyone is out, emergency personnel can now devote their full attention to saving yours and your neighbors property to the best of their ability. Now you know. It's not smart to stay.

Things to you need to know for earthquakes

You need to learn how to turn off utilities: gas, water, and electricity. Only turn off the gas if you smell it. Have the right wrench nearby. The shut off is normally right next to the meter. Contact the gas company for proper ways of shutting the gas off. Don't turn the gas back on yourself. Make sure every member of your family knows where the fuse box is and how to shut off the electricity. If you see a water pipe leaking, or what may be a leaky pipe, shut the water off. Again, your house may be different. Contact your water company about how to turn the water off.

Learn some basic first aid.

Make a plan for where your family meets.

During an earthquake

Always remain calm.

If you are inside, duck under a desk, doorway, or even a hallway. Keep away from windows and glass.

If you are outside, stay away from trees, buildings, telephone lines, and electric lines.

If you are driving, keep away from power lines. Do not go on underpasses or overpasses. Get to a safe area and remain in your vehicle.

What to do after an earthquake

Provide any first aid you can.

Check for any leaks, power lines down, gas smell.

Look for damage in and around your building or home that may be a hazard, like cracks in walls, chimneys, downed trees, etc.

Clean up anything you can safely.

Always wear shoes and gloves. Have them on hand.

Have a battery powered radio and listen for instructions.

Avoid using the telephone except in emergency situations.