Your Family Disaster Plan
Severe Weather Preparedness
Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to
evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. What would
you do if basic services - water, gas, electricity or telephones - were
cut off? Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene
after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away.
Families can - and do - cope with disaster by preparing in advance and
working together as a team. Knowing what to do is your best
protection and your responsibility.
If Disaster Strikes
Remain calm and patient. Put your plan into action.
Check for injuries
Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people.
Listen to your battery powered radio for news and instructions
Evacuate, if advised to do so. Wear protective clothing and sturdy
Check for damage in your home...
Use flashlights - do not light
matches or turn on electrical switches, if you suspect damage.
Check for fires, fire hazards and other household hazards.
Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If you
smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows,
and get everyone outside quickly.
Shut off any other damaged utilities.
Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches,
gasoline and other flammable liquids immediately.
Confine or secure your pets.
Call your family contact - do not use the telephone again unless it
is a life-threatening emergency.
Check on your neighbors, especially elderly or disabled persons.
Make sure you have an adequate water supply in case service is cut
Stay away from downed power lines.
Keep enough supplies in your home to meet
your needs for at least three days. Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit
with items you may need in an evacuation. Store these supplies in
sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, duffle bags or covered
A three-day supply of water (one
gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil.
One change of clothing and foot-wear per person, and one blanket or
sleeping bag per person.
A first aid kit that includes your family's prescription
Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty
of extra batteries.
An extra set of car keys and a credit
card, cash or traveler's checks.
Special items for infant, elderly or
disabled family members.
An extra pair of glasses.
Keep important family documents in a water proof container. Keep a
smaller kit in the trunk of your car.
Locate the main electric fuse box, water
service main and natural gas main. Learn how and when to turn these
utilities off. Teach all responsible family members. Keep
necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves.
Remember, turn off the utilities only if you suspect the lines are damaged
or if you are instructed to do so.
you turn the gas off, you will need a professional to turn it back on.
|Home Hazard Hunt
During a disaster, ordinary objects in your
home can cause injury or damage. Anything that can move, fall, break
or cause a fire is a home hazard. For example, a hot water heater or
a bookshelf can fall. Inspect your home at least once a year and fix
|Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Working with neighbors can save lives and
property. Meet with your neighbors to plan how the neighborhood
could work together after a disaster until help arrives. If you're a
member of a neighborhood organization, such as a home association or crime
watch group, introduce disaster preparedness as a new activity. Know
your neighbors' special skills (e.g., medical, technical) and consider how
you could help neighbors who have special needs, such as disabled and
elderly persons. Make plans for child care in case parents can't get
Evacuate immediately if told to do so:
Listen to your battery-powered radio
and follow the instructions of local emergency officials.
Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
Take your Disaster Supplies Kit.
Lock your home.
Use travel routes specified by local
authorities - don't use shortcuts because certain areas may be impassable
If you're sure you have time:
Shut off water, gas and electricity before
leaving, if instructed to do so.
Post a note telling others when you left
and where you are going.
Make arrangements for your pets.
|4 Steps to Safety
Find Out what Could Happen to You
Contact your local emergency management or civil defense office and
American Red Cross chapter - 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 may not be
allowed inside emergency shelters due to health regulations.
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
2. Create a
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.
1. Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a
2. Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Everyone must know the address and phone number.
Ask an out-of-state friend to be your "family contact." After
a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Other family
members should call this person and tell them where they are.
Everyone must know your contact's phone number.
Discuss what to do in an evacuation. Plan how to take care of
3. Complete this Checklist
Post emergency telephone numbers by
phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency
Medical Services number for emergency help.
Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas and
electricity at the main switches.
Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
Teach each family member how to use
the fire extinguisher (ABC type), and show them where it's kept.
Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near
Conduct a home hazard hunt.
Stock emergency supplies and assemble
a Disaster Supplies Kit.
Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR class.
Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways
out of each room.
Find the safe spots in your home for
each type of disaster.
4. Practice and Maintain Your Plan
Quiz your kids every six months so
they remember what to do.
Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills.
Replace stored water every three months and stored food every six
Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to
Test your smoke detectors monthly and
change the batteries at least once a year.