Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighborhood, workplace or school or can confine you to your home.
What would you do if basic services-water, gas, electricity or telephones-were cut off? Local officials and first responders will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away. Therefore, the best way to make you and your family safer is to be prepared before disaster strikes.
Here are some tips for preparing for natural disasters:
- Get to know the types of disasters that can occur in your community.
- Make a family communications plan that includes an evacuation plan and coordinates with your school, work and community communication plans. Practice this plan with your entire family.
- Create a disaster supplies kit that includes enough supplies for each family member for at least three days. Remember to check your kit every six months.
- Make sure your child knows what smoke alarms, fire alarms and local community warning systems (horns, sirens) sound like and how to respond.
- Teach your child how and, equally important, when to call for help. Even very young children can be taught how and when to call for emergency assistance.
- Children should memorize their family name, address and phone number. They should also know where to meet in case of an emergency. Some children may not be old enough to memorize the information. They could carry a small index card that lists emergency information to give to an adult or babysitter.
- If you commute to work, make sure you know alternative routes and carry appropriate supplies, such as a disaster supplies kit in your car and a compact kit with bare essential items such as a flashlight and whistle on public transportation.
Being prepared helps you and your family minimize the impact of a disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake or an emergency such as a fire or a broken leg.
The Red Cross has tips and tactics to help you prepare. The time to get ready for unexpected situations is now-while you have time to plan.