In a disaster, local officials and first responders cannot reach everyone immediately. Help may not arrive for hours or days. You and members of your community need to be prepared ahead of time.
Most disasters are natural disasters, the result of some force of nature, such as tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, and floods. Some natural disasters can be predicted, such as hurricanes and severe winter storms, while others, such as tornadoes and earthquakes, happen with little or no warning. Some disasters are the cause of human actions, intentional or unintentional. A disaster plan will help with safety, security, and comfort. Regardless of the type of disaster, there are things you can do to prepare.
- Discuss what to do in an evacuation, and don't forget to include the needs of those with disabilities.
- When told by officials, go immediately to a shelter as instructed or to the home of a friend or relative who lives out of the area. Find out about your local shelters beforehand.
- Know evacuation routes. Pre-establish several different routes in case certain roads are blocked or closed.
- Family members can become separated during an emergency. Be prepared by creating a plan for how to reach one another. Establish an out-of-area contact (such as a relative or friend) who can coordinate family members' locations and information should you become separated. Make sure children learn the phone numbers and addresses, and know the emergency plans.
- Quiz children every six months so they remember what to do, where to go, and whom to call in an emergency.
- Decide how to take care of pets. Pets are not allowed in places where food is served, so you will need to have a place to take your pets if you have to go to a shelter.
- Post emergency phone numbers (fire, police, ambulance, etc.) by the phone.
- Download NFPA's free safety tip sheets on a variety of emergency preparedness topics: hurricane safety, flood safety, portable generators, lightning safety, emergency supplies kit, candle safety
From the NFPA Today blog
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