Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your home, your neighborhood, your school or your workplace or force you to be confined to your home. In a major disaster, emergency officials can’t get to everyone at once. Expect the unexpected and plan for it:
Prepare emergency and first aid kits.
- Hazard proof your home.
- Post emergency numbers.
- Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, fire department, and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
- Have a communication plan in case family members are separated from one another. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact.”
- Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water. Know what to do without these basic services you depend on.
- Check your insurance for the hazards common to where you live.
Right after an emergency you may be confused or disoriented. Stay calm and remember the following procedures:
- Help anyone who is injured.
- Listen to your local radio station on your battery-operated radio for instructions.
- Don’t use the telephone unless it is absolutely necessary. Emergency crews will need all available lines.
- Check your home for damage and remember to use a flashlight not matches in case of gas leaks.
- Check for fires or fire and household hazards.
- Sniff for gas leaks starting at the water heater. If you smell gas, turn off the main gas valve, open windows and get everyone outside quickly.
- Shut off any other damaged utilities.
- Confine or secure your pets.
- Check on your neighbors.