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Safety Tips
Disasters can strike quickly and without warning. Are you prepared? Take a look at these safety tips for ways to prepare both yourself and your loved ones for a disaster. Because knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility.

Family Disaster Plan

Where will your family be when disaster strikes? They could be anywhere, at work, at school or in the car. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children are safe?

Families can and do cope with disaster by preparing in advance and working together as a team. Follow the steps listed in this web site to create your family's disaster plan.

4 Steps to Safety

1) Find Out What Could Happen to You.

  • Ask what types of disasters are most likely to occur. In our area, thunderstorms, tornadoes, floods, fires and heat waves are the most common.
  • Ask about animal care after a disaster. Animals may not be allowed inside of emergency shelters due to health regulations.
  • Find out how to help elderly or disabled persons, if needed.
  • Find out about disaster plans at your workplace, your children's school or day care center and other places where your family spends time.
2) Create a Disaster Plan.
  • Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers and plan to share responsibilities and work 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 fire;
  2. Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home.
  • Everyone must know the address and phone number of both places.
  • Ask an out-of-state friend to be your "family contact." After a disaster, it is 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. Also, share this number with other relatives so that, in the case of a disaster, they have someone outside of the affected area that can give updates, as calling into a disaster area is often very difficult.
  • Discuss what to do in an evacuation.
  • Plan how to take care of your pets.
3) Complete This Checklist.
    • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, poison control, etc.)
    • Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1.
    • 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. Pay special attention to flood insurance as most homeowners policies do NOT cover rising water.
    • Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type), and show them where it is kept.
    • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms. 
    • Conduct a home hazard hunt. Anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is a home hazard. (Example: a bookshelf that can fall.) Inspect your home at least once a year and fix potential hazards. Contact your fire department to learn about home fire hazards.
    • 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 drills at least twice a year.
  • Replace stored water every three months and stored food every six months.
  • Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
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 shoes.

Check for damage in your home.

    • Use flashlights -- do not light matches, use candles or turn on electrical switches, if you suspect damage.
    • Check for fires and various hazards.
    • Sniff for gas leaks, beginning at the water heater. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows and get everyone quickly outside.
    • Shut off any other damaged utilities.
    • Clean up spilled bleaches, gasoline and other flammable liquids immediately. 

Remember to... 
  • Confine or secure your pets.
  • Call your family contact, then stay off the phone.
  • Make sure you have an adequate water supply in case service is cut off.
  • Stay away from downed power lines.

With these few simple precautions, you can help keep you and your family as safe and ready as possible when a disaster strikes.