It’s essential for you and your family to be prepared in the case of an emergency. The following tips should be discussed when preparing your plan.

Create an Emergency Communication Plan for Your Family

Select a contact that everyone knows to call or email if a disaster occurs. This contact should be far enough away that they would be unlikely to be affected by the same event. Make sure every family member has the contact information for this person and the other family members. You can leave information at your children’s school or at your workplaces. Remember: telephone lines and cellular waves often become flooded in an emergency but be patient and try again later.

Establish a Meeting Place in Case of a Large Scale Emergency

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Assemble a Disaster Supply Kit

Use an easy to carry container to collect items that would be needed in case of an emergency. Think about items such as baby formula, phone charger, first aid supplies including prescription medications, a change of clothes for each person, sleeping bags or mats, a battery powered radio, food, water, tools, plastic sheeting and duct tape. Also add copies of important documents such as birth certificates, marriage records, life insurance designations and passports. Keep current records of health conditions and doctor name, medications, blood type, allergies and personal characteristics such as age, height and weight for each person in your family.

If a Large Scale Emergency Occurs

  • Remain calm and be patient
  • Follow the instructions of local emergency officials
  • Listen to your radio or television and read updates online for information and instructions
  • Call your family contact and then only use the phone if it is a life-threatening emergency (to keep phone lines and cellular waves clear)
  • Confine and secure your pets

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 2.59.02 PMIf you are instructed to evacuate, officials have good reason to make this request. Wear long sleeves, pants and sturdy shoes for protection, take your disaster supply kit, take your pets, lock your home, and use designated travel routes (don’t look for short cuts).

If you are instructed to shelter in place, this means that you should remain in your home or office and protect yourself there. Close and lock all windows, doors and fire place dampers. Choose an above ground interior room and gather your supplies. Once in the room seal the cracks around the doors, windows and any vents to the room with plastic and/or duct tape. Listen to your radio or television and read updates online until you are told all is safe or to evacuate.

Other Positive Action Steps

  • Limit the amount of media coverage of a disaster or emergency event that children watch. Adults may also need breaks from such media coverage.
  • Talk with your children and family ahead of time about what might happen in case of an emergency. Explain to children that sometimes good people like firemen or rescue workers have to wear big suits or hoods that might make them look different.
  • Be a part of a neighborhood watch group or volunteer.
  • Become trained in CPR, first aid and/or community emergency response.