The next time disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Prepare now for a sudden emergency. Learn how to protect yourself and cope with disaster by planning ahead. This checklist will help you get started. Discuss these ideas with your family, then prepare an emergency plan. Post the plan where everyone will see it—on the refrigerator or bulletin board. For additional information about how to prepare for hazards in your community, contact your local emergency management or civil defense office and American Red Cross chapter.
- Call Your Emergency Management Office or American Red Cross Chapter Find out which disasters could occur in your area.
- Ask how to prepare for each disaster.
- Ask how you would be warned of an emergency.
- Learn your community's evacuation routes.
- Ask about special assistance for elderly or disabled persons.
- Learn about emergency plans for your children's school or day care center.
- Create an Emergency Plan
- Meet with household members to discuss the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes and other emergencies. Explain how to respond to each.
- Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.
- Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
- Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room.
- Show family members how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at main switches when necessary.
- Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones.
- Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police and fire.
- Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
- Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated during a disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area).
- Teach children your out-of-state contact's phone numbers.
- Pick two emergency meeting places.
- A place near your home in case of a fire
- A place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.
- Take a basic first aid and CPR class.
- Keep family records in a water and fire-proof container.
Prepare a Disaster Supplies KitAssemble supplies you might need in an evacuation. Store them in an easy-to-carry container such as a backpack or duffle bag.
- A supply of water (one gallon per person per day). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every six months.
- A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.
- A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
- Blankets or sleeping bags.
- A first aid kit and prescription medications.
- An extra pair of glasses.
- A battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
- Credit cards and cash.
- An extra set of car keys.
- A list of family physicians.
- A list of important family information; the style and serial number of medical devices such as pacemakers.
- Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.
Escape PlanIn a fire or other emergency, you may need to evacuate your house, apartment or mobile home on a moment's notice. You should be ready to get out fast.
Develop an escape plan by drawing a floor plan of your residence. Using a black or blue pen, show the location of doors, windows, stairways, and large furniture. Indicate the location of emergency supplies (Disaster Supplies Kit), fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, collapsible ladders, first aid kits and utility shut off points. Next, use a colored pen to draw a broken line charting at least two escape routes from each room. Finally, mark a place outside of the home where household members should meet in case of fire.
Be sure to include important points outside such as garages, patios, stairways, elevators, driveways and porches. If your home has more than two floors, use an additional sheet of paper. Practice emergency evacuation drills with all household members at least two times each year.
Home Hazard HuntIn a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is a potential hazard.
- Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.
- Fasten shelves securely and brace overhead light fixtures.
- Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Hang pictures and mirrors away from beds.
- Strap water heater to wall studs.
- Repair cracks in ceilings or foundations.
- Store weed killers, pesticides and flammable products away from heat sources.
- Place oily polishing rags or waste in covered metal cans.
- Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors and gas vents.
If You Need to Evacuate
- Listen to a battery powered radio for the location of emergency shelters. Follow instructions of local officials.
- Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
- Take your Disaster Supplies Kit.
- Lock your house.
- Use travel routes specified by local officials. If you are sure you have time...
- Shut off water, gas and electricity, if instructed to do so.
- Let others know when you left and where you are going.
- Make arrangements for pets. Animals may not be allowed in public shelters.
Prepare an Emergency Car KitInclude:
- Battery powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries
- Booster cables
- Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
- First aid kit and manual
- Bottled water and non-perishable high energy foods such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter
- Maps, Shovel, Flares
- Tire repair kit and pump
- Plan two escape routes out of each room.
- Practice fire drills at least twice a year.
- Teach family members to stay low to the ground when escaping from a fire.
- Teach family members never to open doors that are hot. In a fire, feel the bottom of the door with the palm of your hand. If it is hot, do not open the door. Find another way out.
- Install smoke detectors on every level of your home. Clean and test them at least once a month. Change batteries at least once a year
- Keep a whistle in each bedroom to awaken household in case of fire.
- Check electrical outlets. Do not overload outlets.
- Purchase and learn how to use a fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
- Have a collapsible ladder on each upper floor of your house.
- Consider installing home sprinklers.