Do you have a weather emergency plan?
This is the time of year when a weather emergency can strike with little to no warning. Every family should have an evacuation plan in the event of a hurricane, tornado, fire or other emergency.
When a disaster strikes,you might not have time to plan your evacuation. Large and small families can cope with disasters by preparing in advance and working together as a team.
Sit down with your family now and create a family emergency plan. You will probably never need to use it, but if you do, a plan will keep you in control.
Your disaster plan should cover:
- What each person needs to do
- How you will find each other if you are separated
- Where you would go
- How to communicate in an emergency
Here are 10 steps to help you prepare to evacuate in case your neighborhood is in trouble.
- Stay tuned to local radio and television stations for information and direction.
- Travel and Exit Routes: If it becomes necessary to leave your immediate area, plan how you and your household members will travel. Know and practice all possible exit routes from your home and neighborhood.
- Meeting Places: Identify two places for your household to reunite after an emergency. The first should be right outside your home. The second should be outside of your neighborhood, such as a library, fire station, community center or place of worship. Everyone in your household should know the street address, e-mail address, and phone number of your second meeting place.
- Contact Person: Designate an out-of-state friend or relative that household members should call if they become separated during an emergency.
- Relevant Emergency Plans: Ask now about emergency plans for your workplace, schools or day care, and other relevant institutions.
- Special Needs: Consider any special needs of children, elderly, people with disabilities, and non-English speakers.
- Pets: Consider how you will evacuate or prepare for the needs of family pets.
- Utilities: Ensure that responsible family members know how and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches or valves.
- Emergency Information: Gather important information and documents now, and store them in one place to ensure that these items are readily accessible if you need to evacuate from your home. Tell everyone who might need to know.
- Practice: Review or practice your plan with all household members at least every six months.