If a disaster strikes, are you prepared?


Disaster can strike without warning, forcing you, your family, and animals to go for days without basic necessities or to evacuate your home.

You need to be prepared!

Relief workers will be on the scene following a disaster, but may not be able to reach you immediately. Knowing some simple tips can greatly reduce the danger and distress your family may face, whether it’s flooding, fires, tornadoes, earthquakes or another crisis.

Here are some safety tips to use

Create a basic emergency plan. Having a plan is one of the most important steps you can take in disaster preparedness. Draw a floor plan of your home showing escape routes. Identify a friend or relative who lives out of the area for family members to contact if you are separated. Know how to shut off the water, gas, and electricity at the main switches in your home. Practice emergency drills with your family.

Prepare a disaster supply kit. Having a disaster supply kit ready to take with you at a moment’s notice ensures that you will have necessary supplies no matter how fast you may need to evacuate. Pack supplies in duffel bags or backpacks and keep them in a designated place. Pack at least one gallon per person per day for at least three days. Pack enough food to last each family member at least three days. Include canned and boxed foods because they require little preparation and stay good for long periods of time. Remember to bring a manual can opener or to buy food in self-opening cans. Tools and equipment should include: battery powered radio; flashlights; spare batteries; toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, and other toiletries; blankets or a sleeping bag for each person. Personal items: copies of birth and marriage certificates, inventory of household goods, bank account numbers and other important documents; maps; extra car and house keys; prescription medications.

Plan for your pets. Pets should not be left behind during a disaster, but do not risk your own safety attempting to find them if you must evacuate quickly. Attach identification tags to your pet with your name and address. Put together an emergency supply kit for your pet. Include a first aid kit, food dishes, litter box, leash, pet carrier, medication, food, veterinary records and water.

In case of evacuation. In a disaster situation, it may be necessary to evacuate your home for several days or longer. Because disasters can strike with little or no warning, you should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. Contact the local emergency management office to learn evacuation routes for your area. Determine where you will go if your community is evacuated. Find out your child’s school evacuation policy.

When authorities tell you to evacuate. Bring your disaster supply kit. Wear sturdy shoes and clothing. Lock the doors and windows. Turn off the main switches and valves for gas, water, and electricity, if instructed. Inform a friend or relative of your route. Follow recommended evacuation routes. Watch for flooded areas and downed power lines.

For more information go to http://emergency.cdc.gov/.