Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now.
The likelihood that you and your family will recover from an emergency or disaster tomorrow often depends on the planning and preparedness done today. While each person’s abilities and needs are unique, every individual can take steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies from fires and floods to potential terrorist attacks. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan that fits those needs, you and your loved ones can be better prepared.
When disaster strikes there is little time to sit down and plan out what you need to do. Planning ahead of time and making preparations in advance can make the difference between surviving well or even surviving at all. Plan in advance what you will do in an emergency. Be prepared to assess the situation. Use common sense and whatever you have on hand to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling a disaster supply kit and developing a family communications plan, are the same for both a natural or man-made disaster. However, there are significant differences among potential terrorist threats, such as biological, chemical, explosive, nuclear, and radiological, which will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. By beginning a process of learning about these specific threats and making basic preparations, you can make a difference in how you will survive in a disaster.
Links you may be interested in:
Preparations for High Winds
- Survey your home and/or property. Take note of materials stored, placed, or used, which in the event of high winds could become missiles and destroy other structures or be destroyed. Devise methods of securing these materials where they will still be accessible for day-to-day needs.
- Keep radio and/or TV on and monitor for wind advisories.
- If possible, board up, tape or shutter all windows (leave some ventilation).
- Draw some water for emergency use in the event water service is interrupted.
- Have a supply of flashlights, spare batteries, candles, first aid equipment, medicines, etc., available for emergency use.
- Secure outdoor furniture, trash cans, tools, etc.
During High Winds
- Take shelter in hallways, closets, and away from windows.
- Stay out of areas where flying objects may hit you or destroy your place of refuge.
After Winds Subside
- Inspect for structural damage.
- Check all utilities for damage and proper operation.
- Monitor radio and TV for instruction from local authorities.
- Report damage and needs to your Neighborhood Coordinator.
Before an Earthquake
- Store water and food supply.
- Organize a 72-hour portable emergency kit.
- Bolt down or provide strong support for water heaters and other appliances.
- Consider earthquake insurance.
During an Earthquake
- STAY CALM
- If you are indoors, stay inside and find protection in a doorway, or crouch under a desk or table, away from windows or glass dividers; avoid masonry wall (brick) and chimneys (fireplaces).
- Outside: Stand away from buildings, trees, telephone and electric lines.
- On the Road: Drive away from underpasses/overpasses; stop in a safe area; stay in the vehicle.
- In an Office Building: Stay next to a pillar or support column or under a heavy table or desk.
After an Earthquake
- Check for injuries. Provide first aid.
- Check for safety - gas, water, sewage breaks; check for downed electric lines; turn off interrupted utilities as necessary; check for building damage and potential safety problems during aftershocks, such as cracks around chimney and foundation; check for fires.
- Clean up dangerous spills.
- Wear shoes.
- Tune radio to an emergency station and listen for instructions from public safety agencies.
- Use the telephone only for emergencies.
- As soon as possible, notify your family that you are okay.
- Do not use matches or open flames in the home until you are sure there are no gas leaks.
- In public buildings, follow evacuation procedures immediately and return only after the building has been declared safe by the appropriate authorities.
- Report damages or needs to your Neighborhood Coordinator.
Things You Need to Know
- How, where and when to turn off electricity, gas and water.
- First aid.
- Plan for reuniting your family.
- Plan and practice a family drill at least once a year.
Before the Flood
- Know the elevation of your property in relation to flood plains, streams, and other waterways. Determine if your property may be flooded.
- Make advance plans of what to do and where to go.
- Store food, water and critical medical supplies (prescriptions, etc.).
- Fill your car with gas in case you must evacuate.
- Move furniture and essential items to higher elevation if time permits.
- Have a portable radio and flashlights with extra batteries.
- Open basement windows to equalize water pressure on foundations and walls.
- Secure house and consider flood insurance.
- Listen to local radio or TV for weather information.
- If you are asked to evacuate, shut off main power switch, main gas valve and water valve. Follow local evacuation plan and routes.
- Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road, as it might be washed out. While you are on the road, watch for possible flooding at bridges, dips and low areas.
- Watch out for damaged roads, slides and fallen wires.
- Drive slowly in water; use low gear.
- If driving and vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground.
- Do not attempt to cross a stream on foot where water is above your knees.
- Register at your designated Evacuation Center and remain at the Evacuation Center until informed that you may leave.
After the Flood
- Remain away from evacuated area until public health officials and building inspector have given approval.
- Check for structural damage before entering.
- Make sure electricity is off; watch for electrical wires.
- Do not use an open flame as a light source because of possibility of escaping gas. Use flashlights. Beware of dangerous sparks.
- Do not use food that has been contaminated by flood water.
- Test drinking water potability.
Your Evacuation Center location will be given to you by your Neighborhood Coordinator. Please record this information on the appropriate page of your Logan City Emergency Procedures Manual.
Before the Storm
- Arrange for emergency heat supply in case of power failure.
- Prepare automobile, battery-operated equipment, food, heating fuel and other supplies.
- Prepare a winter survival kit. You should have the following items in your car: Blankets or sleeping bags, flares, high energy foods (candy, raisins, nuts, etc.), first aid kit, flashlights, extra clothing, knives, compass, emergency candles and matches, maps, jumper cable, tow chain, shovel, windshield scraper, sack of sand.
- Your car will help you keep warm, visible and alive should you be trapped in a winter storm. A lighted candle will help keep you from freezing, but you must remember to have a window open slightly for ventilation.
- Keep car fuel tank above half full.
During and After a Storm
- Dress warmly. Wear multiple layers of protective, loose-fitting clothing, scarves, mittens and hoods. Cover the mouth and nose to protect lungs from extremely cold air.
- Avoid travel, but if you become stranded, stay in your vehicle- keep it ventilated, bundle up, light an emergency candle for warmth, occasionally change positions and DON'T PANIC.
- Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks are a major cause of deaths during and after winter storms.
- Shoveling snow or freeing stuck vehicles can be extremely hard work. Don't overdo it!
- Beware of the chill factor if winds are present.
- Be prepared for isolation at home. If you live in a rural area, make sure you can survive at home for a week or two in case a storm isolates you and makes it impossible for you to leave.
If a warning is issued the Storm is Imminent and you should know the "Winter Words of Warning"
Winter Words of Warning
- WATCH - A winter storm is approaching.
- FLURRIES - Intermittent snowfall that may reduce visibility.
- SLEET is small particles of ice, usually mixed with rain. If enough sleet accumulates on the ground, it will make the roads slippery.
- HEAVY SNOW is when four or more inches are expected within a 12-hour period.
- FREEZING RAIN OR FREEZING DRIZZLE is forecast when expected rain is likely to freeze as soon as it strikes the ground, putting a coating of ice or glaze on roads and everything else that is exposed. If a substantial layer of ice is expected to accumulate from the freezing rain, an ICE STORM is forecast.
- A BLIZZARD is the most dangerous of all winter storms It combines cold air, heavy snow and strong winds that blow the snow about and may reduce visibility to only a few yards. Winds 35 mph. Temperature 20 degrees F. or less.
- A SEVERE BLIZZARD WARNING means that a very heavy snowfall is expected, with winds of at least 45 mph or temperatures of 10 degrees F or lower.
During a Thunderstorm or Lightning
- When a thunderstorm or lightning threatens, get inside a home or large building, or inside an all metal vehicle (not a convertible). Stay indoors and don't venture outside unless absolutely necessary.
- Stay away from open doors and windows, fireplaces, radiators, stoves, metal pipes, sinks and plug-in appliances.
- Don't use plug-in electrical equipment such as hair dryers, electric blankets or electric razors during the storm.
- Except for emergencies, don't use the telephone during the storm; Lightning may strike telephone lines outside.
If outside, with no time to reach a safe building or an automobile, follow these rules:
- Do not stand underneath a natural lightning rod such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.
- Avoid projecting yourself above the surrounding landscape, as you would do if you were standing on a hilltop, in an open field, on the beach, of fishing from a small boat.
- Get out of the water and out of small boats.
- Get away from tractors and other metal farm equipment.
- Stay away from wire fences, clotheslines, metal pipes, rails, exposed sheds or anything that is high that would conduct electricity. Some of these could carry electricity to you from some distance away.
- Do not use metal objects like fishing rods and golf clubs. Golfer's cleated shoes are particularly good lightning rods.
- Stay in your automobile if you are traveling. Automobiles offer excellent lightning protection.
- Get off and away from motorcycles, scooters, golf carts and bicycles.
- If no buildings are available, your best protection is a cave, ditch or canyon, or under head-high clumps of trees or shrubs.
- If only isolated trees are nearby, your best protection is to crouch in the open, keeping twice as far away from isolated trees as the trees are high.
- When you feel the electrical charge- if your hair stands on end or your skin tingles- lightning may be about to strike. Drop to the ground immediately.
First Aid for Lightning Strikes
- Persons struck by lightning receive a severe electrical shock and may be burned, but they carry no electrical charge and may be handled safely.
- A person "killed" by lightning can often be revived be prompt CPR, cardiac massage and prolonged artificial respiration.
- In a group struck by lightning, the apparently dead should be treated first; those who show vital signs will probably recover spontaneously, although burns and other injuries may require treatment.
Before the Power Outage
- Learn location of fuse box or circuit breaker.
- Store candles, flashlights and extra batteries in a handy place.
- Have food and water supplies on hand, since the outage may last awhile.
- Know the location of all camping equipment (stove, lantern, sleeping bags). You may need them. Make sure the equipment is operational and that you know how to use them. REMEMBER THAT CAMPING EQUIPMENT REQUIRING GASOLINE, PROPANE, WHITE GAS, COLEMAN FUEL OR CHARCOAL BRIQUETS SHOULD NOT BE USED INSIDE THE HOUSE - ONLY OUTSIDE.
- Keep adequate supply of fuel on hand. Propane, white gas, gasoline and Coleman fuel must not be stored or used in the house or garage, as they are too volatile. Only kerosene may be used in the house and NOT stored in direct sunlight and is limited in quantity to one 55-gallon drum on a person's property.
- Keep your refrigerator well defrosted. Built-up ice works against your freezer.
During the Power Outage
- Unplug all your appliances. The surge of power that comes when power is restored could ruin your appliances.
- Turn off all but one light switch.
- A major problem during an outage is food thawing in the refrigerator or freezer, Open door only to take food out, and do so as quickly as possible. If you have access to dry ice, place it in a cardboard box and then on top of food.
- When using camping equipment during an outage, remember to do so outside. Use only a fireplace, a properly installed wood stove, or a new style kerosene heater used in a safe area with the room vented. i.e., fresh outside air coming into the room.
- Report any downed lines.
- Do not allow children to carry lanterns, candles or fuel.
After the Power Outage
- When power is restored, plug in appliances one by one, waiting a few minutes in between each one. This may prevent an overload on the system.
- Be patient. Energy may first be restored to police and fire departments and hospitals.
- Examine your frozen food. If it still contains ice crystal, it may be refrozen, if meat is off-color or has an odd odor, throw it away.
In Case of Emergency
When disaster strikes there is a need for citizens to get information from local emergency management and/or local first responders. The city of Logan will utilize a variety of ways to help get emergency information out to the public.
Emergency Alert System (EAS)
Emergency broadcasts will be put out over the radio and television stations to alert citizens of disaster situations.The local EAS stations are:
- Radio - 610 AM KVNU
- Radio - 1610 AM
- Television - KSL Channel 5
Tone Alert Weather Radios
The National Weather Service puts out weather related information 24 hours a day - 7 days a week. They also will put out storm watches and warnings. This system is also used in conjunction with the EAS system to alert local citizens of weather related emergencies. Tone alert radios can be purchased from local vendors which contain the ability to be turned on automatically when the National Weather Service puts out a tone prior to the issuing of an advanced emergency weather broadcast. Through these emergency broadcasts citizens will be advised about what to do in an emergency situation
The City of Logan will also provide information through the City of Logan Facebook and Twitter profiles. Follow and/or like the profiles today.
Emergency Responders driving up and down your roadway
Some disasters or emergency situations may require sheltering in place or an evacuation. In some evacuation scenarios, emergency response representatives (Fire, Police, EMS) will drive up and down your roadway with the Hi-Lo siren activated. This is a signal to citizens to go inside and turn on their televisions or radios to the EAS station to receive information about the current emergency situation. Response personnel may actually come to your house and knock on your door asking you to evacuate or shelter in place.
What is StormReady?
Ninety percent of all presidentially declared disasters are weather related. Through the StormReady program, NOAA's National Weather Service gives communities the skills and education needed to survive severe weather -- before and during the event.
StormReady does not mean storm proof.
StormReady communities are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through better planning, education, and awareness. No community is storm proof, but Stormready can help communities save lives.
Logan City became the first StormReady city in Utah to be recognized by the local National Weather Service office in Salt Lake city. In order to receive this recognition, Logan city had to meet the following criteria:
- Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center
- Have more than one way to receive severe weather forecasts and warnings and to alert the public.
- Create a system that monitors local weather conditions.
- Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars
- Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
NOAA Weather Radios (NWR)
NWR is an all-hazards public warning system, broadcasting forecasts, warnings and emergency information 24 hours a day directly to the public.
"All Hazards" messages include:
- Natural (e.g., tornado, hurricane, floods, earthquakes)
- Technological accidents (e.g., chemical release, oil spill, nuclear power plant emergencies, maritime accidents, train derailments)
- Amber Alerts
- Terrorist attacks
Non-weather emergency messages will be broadcast over NWR when: (1) public safety is involved, (2) the message comes from an official government source, and (3) time is critical.
The National Response Plan assigns responsibility to the National Weather Service (NWR) to broadcast non-weather emergency messages.
Non-weather emergency messages will be broadcast over NWR at the request of local and/or state officials. The NWS does not initiate the contact nor the message. When local or state officials wish to broadcast a message on NWR, the officials provide text information about the hazard and the appropriate response directly to the local NWS offices. NWS offices have set up pre-arranged agreements to facilitate and speed the process.
NWR and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) use the same digital protocols, and NWR is the primary means for NWS alerts to activate the EAS.
Where can I find a disaster shelter?
During natural or man-made disasters the need to evacuate your home may be necessary to preserve life, health, and personal safety. Local emergency officials will determine the need to evacuate homes or neighborhoods based upon severity and other hazardous aspects of particular disasters. In times of evacuation,many individuals typically seek shelter with extended family or community friends. Sometimes the need arises to go to public sheltering facilities provided by local response agencies.
In cooperation with local religious organizations, civic organizations, and the American Red Cross, various buildings that can be utilized as shelters have been identified for use, (church houses, middle schools, high schools, etc). When a disaster occurs local emergency responders will work with American Red Cross officials to decide where to open shelters. The location of the open public shelter will then be broadcast over local radio and television air waves via the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on either KVNU 610 AM radio or KSL channel 5 on television. Local emergency officials will also make efforts to try to notify residents door to door of the need to evacuate. How long residents will need to be out of their home or at a public shelter will be dependent upon the circumstances of the disaster. Having a 72 hour emergency supply kit in your home which can be quickly grabbed and taken with you in an evacuation situation can of itself be a life saving mechanism.
Residents seeking shelter at public shelter facilities should be aware that there are certain restrictions at these locations in regards to pets. Most public shelters do not allow pets (service animals are allowed), so consider staying with relatives or at a hotel/motel that allows pets; if you must board your pet(s), consider animal boarding facilities, animal shelters and veterinary offices/hospitals. Individuals seeking information regarding shelter rules should contact the American Red Cross.
What is "Shelter-in-Place?"
In place sheltering simply means staying inside your home, business or other facility, or seeking shelter in the nearest available building. In-place sheltering keeps you inside a more protected area during an accidental release of toxic chemicals, or emergencies involving hazardous materials where air quality may be threatened.
Local emergency officials are responsible for issuing orders for in-place-sheltering during chemical or hazardous material emergencies. You may receive notice from Police, Fire, and Emergency Management officials, directly or through radio and television broadcasts. An emergency vehicle going through your neighborhood slowly with an emergency siren sounding continuously means an emergency situation may exist in your area. You should immediately go inside and tune to your local Emergency Alert System (EAS) for more information. The primary EAS station for Cache County is KVNU 610 AM. Emergency information, including steps to be taken, will be broadcast continuously until the emergency is over.
To learn about the steps to shelter-in-place, contact the Local Emergency Planning Committee within Cache County.
Rapid Emergency Notification System - Register Now
For more Information about Code Red - Click Here
Local Preparation: Bear River Region Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan
- Family Emergency Procedure
- Suggestions for a Portable 72-Hour Kit
- List of Basic Medical/First Aid Supplies
- Emergency Procedures for Home Electrical Circuits
- Emergency Control of Natural Gas
- Sheltering in Place
- Preparedness for the Deaf
In case of an emergency and the family is separated, the family should have a plan that will reunite the various family members. Location sites should be selected adjacent to the family home, at a neighbors, in the neighborhood, and in the community to allow for various levels of emergencies.
|Water:||1 Gallon (8 lbs.) per person per day for 3 days (8 drops chlorine bleach per gallon)|
|Food:||Minimal or Non-cook, Lightweight, Palatable, Can Opener, Cooking and Eating Utensils|
|Clothing:||1 Change, Extra Shoes, Raingear, Adequate Winter Wear Bedding: Sleeping Bags, Blankets Personal|
|Hygiene:||Including Feminine Hygiene and Baby Items|
|Sanitation:||Airtight Bucket or Porta-Pottie, Toilet Paper, Newspaper, Soap, Towel, Disinfectant, Trash Bags, Bleach|
|First Aid Kit:||Personal Medications|
|Shelter:||Tent or Tarp, Rope 1/4* x 36*|
|Tools:||Pocket Knife, Small Tools, Ax, Pointed Shovel|
|Light:||Flashlight, Batteries, Candles, Matches|
|Communication:||Radio, Batteries, 1 'Whistle Per Person|
|Fuel:||For Cooking, Light, Heat|
|Important Papers:||Wills, Testaments, Stocks, Securities, Titles, Certificates, Insurance, Current Family Pictures, ID. Cards & Tags, Inventory of Household Items, Pencil & Paper, Maps, Phone Numbers, Emergency Manual, Car Keys, House Keys, Books|
Cash and Charge
Remember: Keep car gas tank at least half full!
Care and Maintenance of First Aid Supplies
Medicines in your emergency supplies should be carefully labeled with the name of the medicine, directions for use, and necessary warnings (i.e., POISON, "External Use Only, etc.). These labels should be clearly visible. All stored medicines should be placed out of reach of children, packed so as to prevent breakage, and stored in a cool, dry place. Best storage temperature should be below 70, but above freezing. Rotation of medical and emergency supplies is strongly urged to prevent waste due to deterioration and to eliminate the danger of using outdated medications.
|1.||Familiarize yourself and your family with the location of the electrical breaker panel.|
|2.||Turn off breakers for areas of concern.|
|3.||Main breaker may be shut off if in doubt.|
In cases of basement flooding:
|4.||Check your house electrical meter. If it is on your home there may be a main disconnect switch (breaker) next to it. If the meter is on an underground service, it may be in front of your home; but there should be a main breaker where the line enters the home. Shut it off!|
|1.||Check house piping and appliances for damage.|
|2.||Check for fires or fire hazards.|
|3.||Do not use matches, lighters or other open flames. ï¿½|
|4.||Do not operate electrical switches, appliances or battery-operated devices if natural gas leaks are suspected. This could create sparks that could ignite gas from broken lines. ï¿½|
|5.||If gas line breakage is suspected, shut off the gas at the meter. This should be done, however, only if there is a strong smell of natural gas or if you hear gas escaping.|
|6.||Wear heavy shoes in all areas near broken glass or debris. Keep your head and face protected from falling debris.|
|7.||Turn on a battery-operated radio (if no gas leaks are found) or car radio to receive disaster instructions.|
|8.||Do not used your telephone except in extreme emergency situations.|
What is In-Place Sheltering?
In-Place Sheltering simply means staying inside your home, business or other facility, or seeking shelter in the nearest available building.
In-Place Sheltering keeps you inside a more protected area during an accidental release of toxic chemicals, or emergencies involving hazardous materials where air quality may be threatened.
When Should You In-Place Shelter?
Local authorities are responsible for issuing orders for In-Place Sheltering during chemical or hazardous material emergencies.
You may receive notice directly from Police, Fire and Emergency Management Officials or through radio and television broadcast.
An emergency vehicle going through your Area with a Hi -Lo Siren sounding continuously means an emergency situation may exist in your area. You should immediately tune to your local Emergency Alert System (EAS) for more information. The primary EAS station for Cache County is KVNU 610 AM.
Emergency information, including steps to be taken, will be broadcast continuously until the emergency is over.
In-Place Sheltering In Your Home
- If possible, bring pets inside.
- Close and lock all doors and windows to the outside
- Turn off all heating/air conditioning systems, and switch inlets or vents to the "closed" position.
- Close all fireplace dampers.
- Seal gaps around window-type air conditioners, fireplace dampers, doors and windows with tape, plastic sheeting, wax paper, aluminum wrap, or other material.
- Seal all bathroom exhaust fans or grills, range vents, dryer vents, and all other openings, as much as possible.
- Close drapes and/or shades covering windows. Stay away from windows and doors.
- Remain inside until you are informed directly by Police, Fire and Emergency Management Officials or through radio broadcasts, that it is safe to leave.
- If time does not permit you to seal the entire home, close all exterior doors and windows and as many internal doors as possible, then move to a room that can be easily sealed and seal that room as advised.
In-Place Sheltering in Your Workplace
In addition to the directions listed for your home, you should take the following steps:
- Ensure that all ventilation systems are set to 100 percent re-circulation so that no outside air is drawn into the building.
- If 100 percent re-circulation is not possible, ventilation systems should be turned off.
- Minimize use of elevators as they tend to "pump" air in and out of a building while moving up and down.
- Again, remain inside until you receive notice from Police, Fire and Emergency Management Officials, or through radio or TV broadcasts, that it is safe to leave.
Emergency Radio Station
Through the 2008 Federal Homeland Security Grant, Region 1 and Cache County were awarded money for the purchase of an AM radio station for the purpose of broadcasting emergency public information in times of disaster.
This radio station officially came on line 2-10-09. You can find the radio station on 1610 AM on your radio dial.
This station should be able to be accessed from one end of the County to the other. Cache County currently is broadcasting NOAA weather radio information on this station 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, but in the future other educational emergency preparedness information can be broadcast, as well as in times of disaster, emergency broadcasts will be made from this channel for around the clock citizen information.
Building a Disaster Resilient Community
A 12 Point Program for
Individual, Family & Community Preparedness
By Al Cooper
1. Have an Emergency Plan
Develop, maintain and practice a written, comprehensive plan detailing how emergency contingencies will be mitigated, prepared for, responded to and recovered from.
Ask the question "What would we do if..." particular sets of emergency circumstances were to arise? Think about possible and likely risks and areas of vulnerability, and then identify desirable resources and possible options. Consider how your plan correlates with school, work place and neighborhood plans. Keep in mind the fact that the very process of making a plan may well be more important than the plan itself.
2. Get an Emergency Kit
Assemble and maintain a portable 72-hour emergency kit containing items designed to support each individual with vital health & personal items designed to support each individual with vital health and personal comfort essentials for two or three days away from home. Of the two most likely responses to a wide range of emergencies, the possibility of evacuation should drive this effort.
Keep your personal kit simple, light in weight, and easy to update according to seasonal and other variables. Any of a long list of possible carrying options may prove practical, including a compact backpack, which leaves hands free. Of primary importance is a flashlight and battery radio together with fresh back-up batteries for each. Other important items often overlooked might include essential medications, some cash money, "plastic" might not work, and a list of key contact information. Position your kit(s) with quick access in mind.
3. Have Emergency Food Supplies
Fortify home-base with food, water and other provisions designed to care for the regular daily needs of those resident there, anticipating the second of the two most likely emergency situations - one where for possible extended periods of time, outside resources will be unavailable or limited.
Don't allow yourself to be daunted by the notion that there is "magic" in the famous "one-year-supply." Begin with an inventory of what you already have, then set some practical, reasonable and achievable goals for adding the things in form and quantities which make sense for you. This is not a one-size-fits-all game plan. Build your program around foods which are desirable for you, have a long shelf life, and require a minimum of preparations. Date everything, and begin at once to put it into regular use, always maintaining and increasing based upon experience.
4. Prepare to Shelter-In-Place
Identify, outfit and prepare an area of your home base suitable for a "shelter-in-place." In an emergency such as a hazardous material release, evacuation might expose a population to a greater danger than staying put.
Select a room or space that is relatively easy to isolate from outside air intake, and which promises a degree of comfort for a short period of time. In outfitting this space, assume that the emergency may involve a temporary interruption of electric power with the personal inconveniences that follow. A shelter-in-place kit should include a battery-powered radio and flashlight, along with pre-cut sheets of plastic and tape for helping to further proof the area against outside contamination. Some of the same thoughtfulness that goes into the 72-hour kit can help guide preparations here. A kit that fits under a bed or into a closet corner is sensible.
5. Know Your Home
Make it your business to become familiar with the critical infrastructure of your home base and learn how to operate electric circuits, natural gas service controls, culinary water main valves, outside air vents, etc. Locate necessary tools where they are handy for use in an emergency. Consult appropriate experts if necessary. Knowing when to turn utilities off and on is important.
Remember during a "shelter-in-place" it is an emergency to turn off air conditioner/heating systems which bring outside air into the building or space providing shelter. In schools and work places, this may require the services of a custodian.
6. Take Inventory
Inventory items of special value and importance and their location in the home base, assigning a priority to each. In the event of an evacuation order, there may be only minutes to take property with you. Limitations of time and space may suggest the need to pre-position and/or protect such belongings.
The very act of producing this list - like the basic plan itself - may prove a useful reminder of the things that really have value in our lives. Usually, it will be family records, genealogies, irreplaceable photos, etc. which rise to the top of the list. A plan to consolidate the location and enhance the portability of high-priority items may result.
7. Equip Your Car
Outfit the family vehicle(s) with items that will add to its safety and security in various emergency and everyday situations, with an eye to the changing of seasons and circumstances. Make it a matter of habit to keep the fuel level above the halfway mark.
Such obvious items as a blanket, heavy-duty flashlight, a container of drinking water, a collapsible shovel, a basic first aid kit and jumper cables are a start. Some high-energy snack bars and weather-conscious clothing items are good additions. A sharp-pointed rock hammer within the driver's reach may become a life-saving method of breaking through a window in a flood situation, and a spare cell-phone kept charged is a smart further step.
8. Prepare to Go Powerless
Prepare the home base to remain secure and reasonably comfortable during short or extended periods of electrical power failure. This is one of the most likely events to follow in the wake of both natural and man-caused emergencies. Alternate lighting, communication, heating and food preparation resources should be apart of the basic emergency response plan.
Battery-operated lights should be positioned strategically in different parts of a residence along with a program that insures a supply of back-up batteries. (Alkaline batteries have a long shelf life, and LED systems operate frugally.) In the case of a prolonged outage, alternate-fuel lamps may prove important. Propane lanterns with hand cartridge replacement systems are easy to use and widely available. Kerosene fueled lamps, such as the Aladdin design are economical to operate and provide a soft, silent source of illumination while producing a minimum of fumes. (Always plan for extra fresh air sources and ventilation when using any fueled device indoors or in a confined space. They all will consume some of the available oxygen supply as well as produce fumes.)
Storing flammable fuels requires special attention, and kerosene is less volatile than others. Outdoor propane and charcoal grills are an excellent cooking alternative, as are camp stoves and dutch oven systems. Extra blankets, sleeping bags and warm clothing should be a part of every non-electric plan. At least on adult family member should remain awake and on watch when alternate lighting/heading devices are in use, even with recommended ventilation. Make sure that the presence of charged A, B, C fire extinguisher and practice in using them correctly is a part of your basic emergency response plan. Gasoline or other combustible fueled generators may greatly extend the ability to compensate for loss of commercial power, but require knowledge and planning to operate safely. Never position a generator indoors or where its exhaust fumes may migrate into a living space. Remember that the storage of adequate fuel supplies adds a certain safety burden, and limits the duration of this alternate source of power.
9. Plan For Pets
Plan for the care and disposition of pets and domestic livestock in the event of a range of possible emergency-spawned contingencies. Almost without exception, emergency shelters-usually managed by the Red Cross-do not welcome pets.
Domestic pet plans might include larger quantities of food, supplies, provision for automatic, gravity-feed water and food dispensers, multiple litter boxes, etc. Arrangements for extended care by family members, friends or commercial service providers might also be considered.
10. Figure Financial Contingencies
Develop a comprehensive "Financial Contingency Plan" geared to your particular set of economic circumstances and designed to respond to the possible interruption of normal cash flow and debt retirement obligations.
Among those "emergencies" most likely to occur at some point, but lease anticipated and planned for is the interruption of income occasioned by loss of employment, illness or even the unexpected death of a bread-winner. The economic consequences of a natural or manmade disaster may also affect cash flow in a temporary, or even long-term way, reducing our ability to deal with everyday affairs and activities. In addition to making use of food storage supplies already identified, and thereby freeing up financial resources, contingency plans might also include such goals as the accumulation of cash reserves on an ongoing basis, and the pre-payment of some key monthly obligations, i.e. Home mortgages, car contracts, and medical insurance plans. "Buying time" thus becomes an important dimension of the overall emergency plan. While this may not be accomplished easily, or all at once, it is a worthwhile long-term objective well worth pursuing.
11. Remember Your Health
Plan for the continuation of health and medical needs during a time of extended emergencies and special circumstances.
With an emphasis on critical, life-supporting medications and supplies, and with the consolation of the prescribing physician where indicated, maintain a supply of such items sufficient to bridge an emergency response such as enforced evacuation or other interruption of normal access. Carry on your person preferably, vital written prescriptions for eyeglasses and other vital, personal medical needs, and clear description of treatment requirements. An insulin-dependant diabetic, for instance, should anticipate having to leave home base with a small portable cooler, and a supply of insulin and syringes. Just as one shouldn't allow the fuel in the vehicle to get below half, the person with a medication dependency should not allow the supply to get below the 30-day mark. Make sure some other family member has a copy of your medical plan.
12. Remember Those with Special Needs
Include someone with special needs in your planning. Somewhere, probably nearby, is a neighbor or acquaintance that is handicapped, elderly, homebound, or medically dependent and alone. Be prepared to share your resources, and the security of your home base with that person, and to check on their well being in a time of emergency.
It is an article of faith among those who have studied, or personally endured real disasters, that in the end, it is neighbor helping neighbor which most insures the "disaster-resiliency" of a community.