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Make a Disaster Plan


 

Disaster Plan for Your Family!

If you have a Disaster Plan and practice it, you’ll know what to do when disaster strikes. Otherwise, you’re likely to run around like a chicken with its head cut off. Here’s how to make your plan:

  1. Contact your local Emergency Management Office, your local chapter of the American Red Cross, and your local Fire Department:
    • Find out which disasters are most likely to happen where you live -- Ask how you would be warned
    • Find out how to prepare for each disaster
    • Find out where responsible family members can learn basic first aid/CPR
    • Learn about home fire hazards and how to use a fire extinguisher
  2. Meet with your family:
    • Discuss types of disasters that are likely
    • Explain how to prepare and respond
    • Discuss what to do if advised to evacuate
    • Plan how you would escape each room in a fire or emergency
    • Plan how you would escape your home in a fire or emergency
    • Practice all the above. Remember fire drills in school? Try it!
  3. Plan where to meet your family members if separated by disaster:
    • Pick 2 meeting places:
      • 1 a safe distance from your home in case of fire
      • 1 outside the neighborhood in case you can’t return home
    • Plan a main route and an alternate route out of your neighborhood
  4. Plan how to stay in contact with your family members if separated by disaster:
    • Choose an out-of-state friend as “check-in contact” for everyone to call
  5. Prepare your home:
    • Post emergency phone numbers by each phone in your home
    • Show responsible family members how/when to shut off utilities.
    • Install smoke alarms at each level of your home, especially near bedrooms
    • Test smoke alarms monthly
    • Replace smoke alarm batteries when you change clocks in spring and fall
  6. If evacuating, decide where you would go. Decide what you would take.
  7. If staying in-place, decide what you would need for 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months.
  8. For all the above, play the “What if?” game: WHAT WILL I DO if this happens?

Let’s talk about evacuating. Don’t do it unless:

  1. Your home is unsafe to continue living in. If your home has been damaged by flood, fire, earthquake, etc., you may have to leave it. If it is safe to do so, turn off the gas, electricity, and water. Evacuate as soon as possible.
  2. An approaching disaster makes it smarter to leave. There’s no reason to stay in the path of a tsunami, an avalanche or mudslide that might break loose, a forest fire, etc. Evacuate as soon as possible.
  3. You are forced out by government orders. If you are advised to evacuate the area, evacuate as soon as possible.

Otherwise – take stock of the situation. Would it be safer to stay? If you leave, you join the horde of other refugees. Yes, maybe you have a place to go. But will you get there? What happens if you don’t? Play the “What If?” game!

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