Emergency Preparedness and You
Courtesy of: http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/
The possibility of public health emergencies arising in the United States concerns many people in the wake of recent hurricanes, tsunamis, acts of terrorism, and the threat of pandemic influenza. Though some people feel it is impossible to be prepared for unexpected events, the truth is that taking preparedness actions helps people deal with disasters of all sorts much more effectively when they do occur.
To help, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Red Cross have teamed up to answer common questions and provide step by step guidance you can take now to protect you and your loved ones.
Gather Emergency Supplies
If disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water, or electricity for some time. By taking time now to prepare emergency water supplies, food supplies and disaster supplies kit, you can provide for your entire family.
Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your food supplies for two weeks, consider maintaining a supply that will last that long.
You may not need to go out and buy foods to prepare an emergency food supply. You can use the canned goods, dry mixes, and other staples on your cupboard shelves.
Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority in an emergency. A normally active person needs to drink at least 2 quarts (a half gallon) of water each day. You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene. Store at least an additional half-gallon per person, per day for this.
Store at least a 3-day supply and consider storing a two-week supply of water for each member of your family. If you are unable to store this much, store as much as you can. You can reduce the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
And don’t forget to take your pets and service animals into account!
Disaster Supplies Kit
A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items that could be needed in the event of a disaster.
Assemble the following items to create kits for use at home, the office, at school and/or in a vehicle:
- Water—one gallon per person, per day (3day supply for evacuation, 2week supply for home)
- Food—nonperishable, easytoprepare items (3day supply for evacuation, 2week supply for home)
- Batterypowered or handcrank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (7day supply) and medical items
- Multipurpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map(s) of the area
Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:
- Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Games and activities for children
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
- Twoway radios
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
- Manual can opener
Additional supplies to keep at home or in your kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:
- N95 or surgical masks
- Rain gear
- Work gloves
- Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
- Plastic sheeting
- Duct tape
- Household liquid bleach
- Entertainment items
- Blankets or sleeping bags
Pack the items in easy-to-carry containers, label the containers clearly and store them where they would be easily accessible. Duffle bags, backpacks, and covered trash receptacles are good candidates for containers. In a disaster situation, you may need access to your disaster supplies kit quickly – whether you are sheltering at home or evacuating. Following a disaster, having the right supplies can help your household endure home confinement or evacuation.
Make sure the needs of everyone who would use the kit are covered, including infants, seniors and pets. It’s good to involve whoever is going to use the kit, including children, in assembling it.
Develop a Family Disaster Plan
Families can cope with disaster by preparing in advance and working together as a team. Create a family disaster plan including a communication plan, disaster supplies kit, and an evacuation plan. Knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility.
- Find out what could happen to you
- Make a disaster plan
- Complete the checklist
- Practice your plan
Find out what could happen to you
Contact your American Red Cross chapter or local emergency management office — be prepared to take notes:
- Ask what types of disasters are most likely to happen. Request 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 disaster. Animals other than service animals may not be allowed inside emergency shelters.
- Find out how to help elderly or disabled persons, if needed.
- Next, find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children’s school or daycare center, and other places where your family spends time.
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 earthquakes to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.
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.