What to Do Before an Emergency
- Develop a household emergency communications plan.
- Prepare a list of important local phone numbers (personal and emergency) and place near a household telephone. Be sure all household members and anyone who may be in the home (caretaker, neighbor) are aware of, and have easy access to the list.
- Household members should have one another’s contact information with them at all times (e.g., parent should have school number, child should have parents’ work, pager, and cell numbers).
- Select an out-of-town contact. In the event of a disaster, all household members can call or email to check on one another through this mutual contact.
- Agree on two alternative meeting places in the event you cannot reach your home safely; One near your home and one in another neighborhood. Familiarize children with the selected locations. Consider family pets when determining the meeting places.
- Review and update your home emergency plan on a regular basis. Remind all household members of the home emergency plan and inform them of any changes in the plan and their role in its successful implementation.
- Assemble an Emergency Supplies Kit for your home. It is important that all household members are aware of its location and have access to the kit.
- See the “At Home” Kit Checklist included in these materials (page 27)
for suggested contents.
- Teach each household member how to use the fire extinguisher and how and when to turn off the water, gas, and electricity.
Should an emergency event occur while you are at work, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I aware of the types of natural disasters that could strike my community and have I prepared my home accordingly?
- Are all who reside in my home aware of our community’s warning signals and what to do if they hear them?
- Does everyone know which media sources (radio stations, television channels, internet sites) will provide emergency information for our area?
- Do we have adequate insurance coverage (e.g., flood, earthquake)?
- Do we have a working flood alarm (if relevant)?
- Is our sump pump working?
- Is our home winterized (e.g., walls insulated properly, storm windows installed, doors and windows caulked and weather-stripped)? Do we have an alternate heat source and an adequate supply of heating fuel?
- Do we have working smoke detectors on each level of our home that are tested and dusted monthly, and have the batteries been replaced in the past six months?
- Is there a working A-B-C type fire extinguisher in my home that has been tested and recharged annually according to the manufacturer’s instructions? Do my household members know where the device is located and how to use it?
- Have we determined a fire evacuation plan from our home that all inhabitants are familiar with and can perform? Have we determined two ways out of each room in our home? Have we practiced the evacuation plan at least once in the past six months?
- Do my older children or caretakers who may be in the home during an emergency know how and when to turn off the utilities (e.g., water, gas, and electricity)?
- Have I made arrangements with a neighbor to check on my home in the event an
emergency occurs while I am at work and cannot be reached?
Is there a disaster supplies kit in my home that all family members/caretakers are aware of and have easy access to?