HOW TO PREPARE FOR DISASTER
For the millions of Americans who have physical, medical, sensory or cognitive disabilities, emergencies such as fires, floods and acts of terrorism present a real challenge. The same challenge also applies to the elderly and other special needs populations. Protecting yourself ahead. Developing a method for easy evacuation, making an emergency plan, a list of your basic disaster supplies kit, and maintaining your plan is vital.
METHODS FOR EASY EVACUATION
Contacting your local emergency management office or American Red Cross to gather any information you will need to create a plan. Question them on hazards within the community such as hurricanes, tornados, and earthquakes. Learn about community response plans, evacuation plans and designated emergency shelters. Find out how local authorities will warn you of a pending disaster and how they will provide information to you during and after a disaster. Also, ask about special assistance programs available in the event of an emergency.
MAKE AN EMERGENCY PLAN
Because a disaster can disrupt your primary emergency plan, it is also important for you to develop a back-up plan to ensure your safety. The steps you should take to making an emergency plan includes meeting with your family/personal care attendants/building, choosing an "out-of-town" contact, deciding where to meet, completing a communication plan, and developing escape routes and safe places.
DISASTER SUPPLY KIT
A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items a family would probably need to stay safe and be more comfortable during and after a disaster. Disaster supplies kit items should be stored in a portable container as close as possible to the exit door. Some items may include a coat, sturdy shoes, hat, scarf, sleeping bag, flashlight, bottled water, non-perishable foods, and cash. Being prepared for a disaster is always a good idea.
MAINTAIN YOUR PLAN
Maintaining your plan is important! You should review your plan every six months and quiz your family about what to do. Conducting fire and emergency evacuation drills on a regular basis with your family will ensure that you’ll know exactly what to do when disaster strikes. Be sure to check on your food supplies for expiration dates and discard or replace stored water and food every six months. Check to see if you have a fire extinguisher and fire alarms within your house! If not, look into purchasing one. A fire alarm will notify you when a fire starts within your house and a fire extinguisher will play the part in putting out the fire. Be sure to read the indicator on your fire extinguisher and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to recharge. Test your smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Replace alarms every 10 years.
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