This article was prepared with the support of assignment writing service and American Red Cross organization.
Planning ahead is the first step to a calmer and more assured disaster response.
- Talk. Discuss with your family the disasters that can happen where you live. Establish responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team. Designate alternates in case someone is absent.
- Plan. Choose two places to meet after a disaster:
- Right outside your home, in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire.
- Outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate your neighborhood.
- Learn. Each adult in your household should learn how and when to turn off utilities such as electricity, water and gas. Ask someone at the fire department to show you how to use the fire extinguisher you store in your home.
- Check supplies. Review your disaster supplies and replace water and food every six months.
- Tell. Let everyone in the household know where emergency contact information is kept. Make copies for everyone to carry with them. Be sure to include an out-of-town contact. It may be easier to call out of the area if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Keep the information updated.
- Practice. Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation routes on a map in case main roads are impassable or gridlocked. Practice earthquake, tornado and fire drills at home, school and work.
A SPECIAL NOTE ON SHELTERING-IN-PLACE
Chemical or airborne hazards require a special response called sheltering-in-place. If local officials advise you to shelter in place:
- Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
- Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems.
- Close the fireplace damper.
- Get your disaster supplies kit out and make sure the radio is working.
- Go to an interior room without windows that is above ground level. (In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed.)
- Using duct tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room.
- Listen to your radio or television for further instructions. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas.
For updated information, visit the American Red Cross.