Natural Disasters. Accidents. Epidemics. Terrorism.

Whether an emergency is caused by disease outbreak, wildfire, severe weather, earthquake or terrorist act, would you know what to do to help protect yourself and your family?

Today, many of us are worried about the possibility of terrorism. But, many kinds of emergencies could affect our health and safety. That's why it's important to be AWARE and to PREPARE.

Be Aware!

Talk with your family about why you need to prepare for disasters. Then, make a plan. The following suggestions can help.

  • Make sure everyone in your family knows where you keep your emergency supplies and your first aid kit.
  • In an emergency, you will want to tune in to media reports for important information. You may need to know where to go to receive medicine or a vaccine, or how to recognize symptoms of disease. Make sure you have a battery-operated radio or TV with extra batteries in case the power goes out. Know which station(s) can provide you with up-to-date local information.
  • Know important phone numbers and list them by each phone in your house:
Police: __________________________________________________________
Fire: __________________________________________________________
Local Health Department: __________________________________________________________
Poison Control Center: __________________________________________________________
Out-of-Area Family Contact: __________________________________________________________
Other: __________________________________________________________
  • Know the best escape route from each room in your home.
  • Know where family members will meet in case they can't get home. One location should be near your home; the other, outside the neighborhood.
  • Know your community's public alert system.
  • Know your child's school emergency plan.

And Prepare!

Take time now to create a family emergency preparedness plan, then practice it with your family. Have periodic rehearsals, including some with the lights out. In an emergency, the electricity may be off.

You should also prepare a first aid kit and emergency supplies to meet your family's needs for three days. Have at least these emergency supplies on hand:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Water for drinking and household use (at least one gallon per person per day for three days)
  • Ready-to-eat canned foods to last three days
  • Manual can opener
  • Peanut butter, crackers, granola bars and other high-energy foods
  • Supply of prescription medication
  • Disposable diapers, baby food, formula
  • Supplies for seniors or family members with special needs
  • Bleach (for disinfecting)
  • Plastic bags and ties (for sanitation)
  • Credit card and cash
  • Personal identification
  • An extra set of keys
  • Important documents, such as your insurance policies

Put together a first aid kit containing these supplies:

  • First aid manual
  • Assortment of sterile adhesive bandages
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Over-the-counter drugs (aspirin, antidiarrheal medication, activated charcoal, syrup of ipecac)
  • Antiseptic ointment
  • Soap
  • Latex gloves
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue depressors
  • Tweezers, needles

Arrange for a friend or relative to serve as a point of contact in case your family members are separated in an emergency. Because it may still be possible to call long distance when local phone lines are down, you should select someone out-of-state to be your emergency contact.

Plan for what you will do with your pets if you have to leave your home. They won't be permitted in public emergency shelters.

What about duct tape and plastic?

Some emergency agencies suggest you have these available in case you need to "shelter in place," which means to stay inside in a safe location rather than evacuating the area. Duct tape and plastic could possibly be used to help keep contaminants out. But, it could be dangerous to seal yourself off from a supply of fresh air! If you have duct tape and plastic, do not use it to seal a room unless officials advise you to. For more information, check the Department of Homeland Security website at www.ready.gov or the CDC website www.cdc.gov.

Check these other information resources:

Funded through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention