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September is Emergency Awareness Month

posted Jul 7, 2010, 3:11 PM by Mary Lopez   [ updated Jul 7, 2010, 3:50 PM ]


Disaster Planning Preparations

It’s not pleasant to think about, but disasters like Katrina, and now storms like Gustav and Fay, and 9-11 remind us that we should be prepared for disasters.  Do you have a plan? Click the “more” button at the end of this paragraph for a list that can help you be better prepared. The list really is very practical and we encourage you to gather the recommended items so you, too, can be prepared.

  • Emergency Preparedness Begins with You.
  • Here are some steps you can take:
  • Meet with your family and discuss your designated meeting and check-in locations after a disaster.
  • Discuss the types of hazards that could affect your family.
  • Know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind.
  • Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hazard.  In certain circumstances, the safest areas may not be your home but within your community.
  • Advocate for yourself. Practice how to quickly explain either orally or in writing to people the best way to guide or move you and your adaptive equipment, safely and rapidly.
  • If you have a communication disability, make sure your emergency information list notes the best way to communicate with you.
  • This may be by writing notes, pointing to letters, words or pictures, or finding a quiet place.
  • Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact so all your family members have a single point of contact.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
  • Check your insurance coverage—flood damage is not usually covered by home owners’ insurance.
  • Use a weather radio.  Remember to replace its battery every six months as you do with your smoke detectors.
  • Get cash—preferably in small bills, credit cards, checkbook and ATM card.
  • Take pictures or video of your home for insurance purposes.
  • Fill up your vehicle with gasoline.
  • Make copies of important documents and keep them in a waterproof container (birth certificate, passport, license, insurance information, and proof of address.)
  • Install at least one smoke detector on each level of your home outside sleeping areas.  If you are deaf or have hearing loss, install a system that has flashing strobe lights to get your attention.
  • If possible, purchase a generator and fuel to run it.  Place it outside in a well-ventilated area.
  • Consider purchasing a carbon monoxide detector too.
  • Determine an alternate place to stay during a disaster—an emergency shelter, hotel, neighbor’s house, friend’s home or a relative’s home.