Being Prepared
Create a Disaster Plan
Steps to creating a disaster plan:
  • Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster.
  • Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather, and earthquakes to children.
  • Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.
  • Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.
  • Pick two places to meet. The first should be right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire. The other should be outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Everyone must know the address and phone number.
  • Ask an out-of-state friend to be your family contact. After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contact's phone number.
  • Discuss what to do in an evacuation. Plan how to take care of your pets.

If a disaster strikes, remain calm and patient. Put your plan into action. Check for injuries and give first aid and get help for seriously injured people. Listen to your battery-powered radio for news and instructions.

Practicing Your Plan
How to practice your plan:
  • Quiz your kids every six months or so.
  • Conduct fire and emergency evacuations.
  • Replace stored water and stored food every six months.
  • Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.

Disaster Preparation Checklist

  • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
  • Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for emergency help.
  • Show each family member how and when to turn off the utilities (water, gas, and electricity) at the main switches.
  • Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
  • Get training from the fire department for each family member on how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type), and show them where it's kept.
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
  • Conduct a home hazard hunt.
  • Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.
  • Take a first aid and CPR class from the Red Cross or the local Fire Department. For more information, call 972.874.6270.
  • Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
  • Find the safe places in your home for each type of disaster.

Checking for Damage in Your Home
How to check for damage in your home:
  • Use flashlights. Do not light matches or turn on electrical switches if you suspect damage.
  • Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows, and get everyone outside quickly.
  • Shut off any other damaged utilities. You will need a professional to turn gas back on.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline, and other flammable liquids immediately.
  • Confine or secure your pets.
  • Call your family contact. Do not use the telephone again unless it is a life-threatening emergency.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially elderly or disabled persons.
  • Make sure you have an adequate water supply in case service is cut off.
  • Stay away from downed power lines.

This information is from Family Disaster Plan, developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross.

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