Family Response Plan
Prepare a plan for your family and loved ones in advance of hazardous weather. You should:
- Contact your local National Weather Service office or Emergency Management office to learn what types of disasters could occur and how you should respond.
- Learn the warning signals and evacuation plans of your community.
- Know the Emergency Alert System radio and television stations in your area that will carry official information. Also, monitor NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts, if possible.
- Discuss with family members what they should do in the event of a disaster, such as a hurricane or severe storm. Pick two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency, such as a fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home.
- Designate an out-of-area friend or relative whom separated family members should call to report their whereabouts. Make certain all family members have the phone number.
- Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
- Check your home and property for potential hazards to see what actions need to be taken to ensure your safety and to protect your belongings.
- Check your insurance coverage. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. Inventory household items with photographs.
- Install safety features in your residence such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
- Know how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity in your home.
- Know where the designated shelters are within your community and how to get to them.
- Determine if your family has any special needs and develop a plan for meeting those needs. For example: If you have a family member on a life-support system, does your electric utility know about it?
- Post emergency telephone numbers by phones.
- Teach all family members, including children, how and when to call 911 or your local EMS phone number.
Supplies and Kits
Family Emergency Supplies
Have these items in your residence ready to use in the event of an emergency:
- Flashlights with extra batteries. Keep flashlights with extra, fresh batteries and keep them beside your bed and in several other locations. Do not use matches.
- Portable radio with extra batteries. Most telephones will be out of order or limited to emergency use. The radio, including NOAA Weather Radio, will be the best source of emergency information.
- First aid kit / first aid skills. Keep your first-aid kit well stocked and in a central location. Take basic first-aid and CPR courses. Keep your skills current.
- Fire extinguisher. Your fire extinguisher should be suitable for all types of fires and should be easily accessible. Teach all family members how to use it.
- Food. Store a three-day supply of food for each person. Items such as canned or dehydrated food, powdered milk and canned juices can be rotated into your daily diet and replenished on a regular basis. Include food for infants or the elderly, snack foods and items such as a non-electric can opener, cooking utensils, paper/plastic plates and plastic utensils.
- Water. Store a 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day). Store in air-tight containers and replace them every six months. Keep a disinfectant, such as iodine tablets or chlorine bleach, to purify water, if necessary.
- Extra blankets and clothing may be required to keep warm. Sturdy shoes protect feet from broken glass and debris.
- Alternate cooking source. Store barbecue, charcoal, starter and matches in case utilities are out of service. Do not use these methods of cooking within a confined area.
- Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members. Have at least a one week supply of medications and foods for infants and those on special diets.
- Tools. Have a crescent or pipe wrench to turn off gas and water if necessary and know the location of the shut-off valves.
- Important documents should be stored in a waterproof container. Examples: insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc. Also, checkbook, cash, credit cards, ATM cards.
Tips After the Storm
- Remain where you have taken shelter until informed by local authorities that it is safe to leave.
- Keep the radio/television turned on for advice and instructions from local government on where to go for medical care, emergency assistance for housing, clothing and food, as well as other ways in which you can help your family and community recover.
- If possible, advise relatives and friends that you are safe.
- Stay out of the disaster area. Do not sightsee. Sightseeing disrupts essential rescue work and may be dangerous.
- Obey all curfew and emergency orders which are issued.
- If you must drive, use caution. Be aware of road and bridge washouts and storm debris on roadways.
- Avoid loose or dangling wires and report them immediately to the proper authorities. Assume that all downed wires are alive with electricity.
- Report broken sewer or water mains and downed electrical lines.
- Take extra precautions to prevent fire. Lowered pressure in water mains may make firefighting extremely difficult.
- Check for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Do not use candles and other open flames indoors.
- Have your electric, gas and water connections checked by professionals before turning them back on.
- Use your emergency supply of water or boil water before using until there is official word that the water is safe.
- Check refrigerated food for spoilage if the power has been off during the storm.