Emergencies disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year. Each disaster has lasting effects, both to people and property. If an emergency occurs in your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, but you need to be ready as well. Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere.
You should know how to respond to severe weather or any disaster that could occur in your area—hurricanes, earthquakes, extreme cold, flooding, or terrorism.
You should also be ready to be self-sufficient for at least three days. This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water, and sanitation.
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Things You Can do Right Now to be Safer
- Check and change the batteries in your smoke alarms yearly and replace all alarms that are more than 10 years old.
- Make sure you know where your local fire department, police station, and hospital are and post a list of emergency phone numbers posted near all the telephones in your home.
- Organize and practice a family fire drill -- make sure your children know what your smoke detector sounds like and what to do if it goes off when they are sleeping.
- Locate the utility mains for your home and be sure you know how to turn them off manually: gas, electricity, and water.
- Create an emergency plan for your household, including your pets. Decide where your family will meet if a disaster does happen:
1) right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire and2) outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home -- ask an out of town friend to be your "family contact" to relay messages.
- Prepare a disaster supply kit, complete with flashlights, batteries, blankets, and an emergency supply of water and food (and pet food!).
- Check the expiration dates of all over-the-counter medications -- discard all that are expired and replace any that are routinely needed.
- Visit with your neighbors and discuss how you would handle a disaster in your area. Talk to neighbors with special needs and help them become safer too!
Every citizen in this country is part of a national emergency management system that is all about protection–protecting people and property from all types of hazards.
Think of the national emergency management system as a pyramid with you, the citizen, forming the base of the structure. At this level, you have a responsibility to protect yourself and your family by knowing what to do before, during, and after an event. Some examples of what you can do follow:
- Know the risks and danger signs.
- Purchase insurance, including flood insurance, which is not part of your homeowner’s policy.
- Develop plans for what to do.
- Assemble a disaster supplies kit.
- Volunteer to help others.
- Put your plan into action.
- Help others.
- Follow the advice and guidance of officials in charge of the event.
- Repair damaged property.
- Take steps to prevent or reduce future loss.
For Information on Emergency Preparedness
Contact the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at (315) 386-2325.