Recent natural disasters remind us that our lives can quickly be turned upside down with little warning. Now is a perfect time to prepare your family and household for emergency situations that are most likely to impact our area.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Ready.gov website provides information on how to be prepared for both natural and man-made disasters. FEMA recommends following these steps to plan ahead for emergency situations.
Sign up for emergency alerts.
Discuss with your family or household members how you will each receive emergency alerts and warnings. Check to see what wireless emergency alerts are offered by your state or local public safety officials, and sign up to receive the latest news.
Devise a shelter plan.
Depending on the emergency, you may be required to evacuate or seek shelter in another location. Or, you may be advised to stay at home and shelter-in-place. Review the recommended shelter plans for the type of disasters that are likely to affect your area. For example, with a tornado warning, you should seek shelter in a basement or an interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.
Create an evacuation plan.
If necessary, you’ll need to know an evacuation plan. You may have a few days to prepare for an evacuation or you may need to leave your home immediately. That’s why it’s important to assemble supplies ahead of time, both a “go-bag” you can carry if you need to you evacuate on foot or public transportation and supplies for traveling by longer distances if you have a personal vehicle.
Develop a household communication plan.
Your family or other household members may not all be together, or at home, when disaster strikes. That’s why it’s important to know how you will communicate with the members of your household during a disaster.
A disaster can strike without warning, and the best way to protect your family is to be prepared. These tips, along with additional information available on www.ready.gov, are a good start to make sure your family is safe and comfortable following an emergency situation.
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— By Joseph Irons
President, Irons Brothers Construction, Inc.