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Disaster Preparedness


Before a Disaster


Before a Disaster!

  • Prepare to be self-sufficient for at least three days by putting together an emergency kit, including:  non-perishable food, water, a flashlight, a portable, battery-operated radio or television, batteries, medicines, anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel, first aid kit, money, seasonal clothing, and sanitation supplies.
  • Conduct practice drills so you and your family know the safe locations in your home for each type of emergency.  Decide how and where your family will reunite if separated.
  • Choose an out-of-state friend or relative that separated family members can call to report their whereabouts and conditions.
  • Learn first aid and CPR from your local Red Cross chapter or other community organizations.
  • Learn how to shut off gas, water and electricity in case the lines are damaged.
  • Make sure insurance coverage is up-to-date and reflects present property values. Check on flood insurance.
  • Compile an inventory of home contents. Take pictures and/or video. Store in a safe place.
  • Check chimneys, roofs, walls and foundations for stability. Make sure your house is bolted to its foundation.
  • Secure your water heater and major appliances, as well as tall, heavy furniture, hanging plants, picture frames and mirrors (especially those over beds). 
  • Make arrangements for pets.
  • Organize your neighborhood to be self-sufficient after a disaster.

During a Disaster


If you are evacuated:

  • Follow directions of  local officials. Carry your disaster supplies kit with you.
  • Unplug appliances, turn off electricity, gas, and main water valve.  (Safety note: do not attempt to re-light the gas pilot. Call the utility company.)
  • If time permits, elevate or move furniture to upper floors.
  • Tell someone outside of storm area where you are going.
  • Lock home and leave.

If you stay at home:

  • Listen constantly to a battery-powered radio or television.
  • Stay inside away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
  • If power is lost, turn off major appliances and keep refrigerators and freezers closed.

After a Disaster


Unless there is an immediate life-threatening emergency, do not attempt to use the telephone.
Be sure to:

  • Stay calm.  Check on neighbors, especially elderly or disabled.
  • Turn on your portable radio or television for instructions and news reports.  For you own safety, cooperate fully with public safety officials and instructions.
  • Use a flashlight to cautiously check for gas and water leaks, broken electrical wiring or sewage lines.  If there is damage, turn the utility off at the source. Immediately report gas leaks to your utility company.  Check for downed power lines; warn others to stay away.
  • Check your home for cracks and damage, including the roof, chimneys and foundation.
  • Do not use your vehicle unless there is an emergency.  Keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles.  If you must drive, watch for downed power lines, flooded streets and highways and undermined roads.
  • Take pictures of the damage, both house and contents, for insurance claims.
  • When electricity is lost for several hours or days, frozen and refrigerated food may not be safe to eat.  Do not re-freeze thawed food.  Throw away all food that has been under flood waters, except canned food, but wash and sanitize the cans before opening.  All food that cannot be saved should be double-bagged for normal trash disposal or buried at least 2-feet deep.
  • Conserve water if your septic system is flooded.
  • If your system lost pressure, boil water for 3 minutes before consuming.
  • In warm weather, empty water out of birdbaths, tires, flower pots and other containers to limit mosquito larvae growth.

Helping Children Cope With Disaster


Be aware that after a disaster, children are most afraid that....

  • the event will happen again.
  • someone will be injured or killed.
  • they will be separated from the family.
  • they will be left alone.

Children depend on daily routines.  In a disaster, they'll look to you and other adults for help.  How you react to an emergency gives them a clue on how to act.

Help them cope by:

  1. Tell children what you know about the disaster. 
  2. Explain what will happen next.
  3. Your children will realize that life will eventually return to normal. 
  4. If a child does not respond to the above suggestions, seek help from a mental health specialist or a member of the clergy.
  5. Plan to keep the family together, calmly and firmly explain the situation and encourage your children to talk!

Excessive Heat Awareness and Safety


Don't be a statistic this summer.... BEAT THE HEAT!


Hydrate. Whether you feel thirsty or not, drink plenty of water to avoid becoming dehydrated, especially when you're working or exercising outside. 

Educate yourself. Keep up with the latest temperature and heat index forecasts and current readings (take actions to stay cool and safe when the temperatures hits 85 degrees or the heat index hits 90 degrees). Know the warning signs of a heat illness, and how you can stay cool. 

Act quickly when a heat illness is suspected. Seek medical attention immediately for any of these warning signs: cramping, rapid pulse, heavy sweating, hot red skin, dizziness, confusion, nausea, vomiting. 

Take it easy. Anyone working or exercising outdoors should avoid overexertion, especially between the hours of 11 am and 6 pm. Take hourly breaks in the shade or in air conditioning. 

According to the National Weather Service heat waves have caused more deaths in the last ten years than any other weather hazard, including tornadoes, hurricanes, and flooding.

  • Symptoms of a serious heat illness include cramps, rapid pulse, heavy sweating, hot red skin, headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Treatment of a heat illness should include getting the victim out of the heat, giving victims sips of cool water, placing cool wet cloths or ice packs on the victim's body (especially around the neck and under the arms), and seeking medical attention.
  • NEVER leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.  Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach over 140°F within  minutes. Exposure to such high temperatures can kill in minutes.  When left in a hot vehicle, a young child's core body temperature can increase three to five times faster than that of an adult, causing permanent injury or even death.  Visit NWS Office of Climate, Water & Weather Services for more details.

    Learn more by visiting:
    National Weather Service

    Information courtesy of National Weather Service

Shelter in Place During a Disaster

How to Shelter in Place!

Sometimes when bad things happen in our community, it is best to stay at your home rather than come to a shelter. If Emergency Officials say, "Stay at home or shelter in place", here are the things you need to know:

  1. Learn the location of the fire department closest to you. Click to view a list of fire departments.
  2. You need to know where your family members are and that they are safe. Make a plan for getting word to each other in the event you are separated during a disaster.
  3. Make sure you and your children know how to escape from your home if needed and where to meet outside so everyone is accounted for.
  4. If everything is okay with your family, check on neighbors and share resources.
  5. Learn how to shut off the power and gas to your home in case that becomes necessary.
  6. A portable or cordless phone will NOT work if the power is off even if phone lines are working.   Have one phone in your house that is not a portable.

Things You Need:

  1. Water - You need clean safe water to drink. Store 1 gallon per day for each person in your home for drinking and cooking. Experts say it is best to plan for three days. You can buy bottled water from the grocery store or bottle it yourself. If you bottle it yourself, choose a clean washed container like a soda bottle. Add four drops bleach (sodium hypochlorite) per quart of water. Don’t use the scented bleaches. You may also need water to flush the toilet if your home has a well with an electric pump. If you have any warning time before the power goes off, run your bathtub and your washing machine full of water for flushing the toilet. To flush the toilet when the power is off, just remove the tank lid and fill the tank with water. Now flush and the tank will empty as the water goes out of the bowel. Fill the tank back up for the next trip. 
  2. Food - You will need food that will not spoil or go bad if it is not kept cold. Have several days worth of canned foods on hand that could be eaten without heating if need be. Keep some foods that will keep for several days without heat or cold. Have on hand foods like peanut butter, crackers, fruit, vegetables, bread, and cereal. Food in your refrigerator and freezer will keep for a while depending on many factors. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Remember that you can cook on an outdoor grill if the weather is safe but you must do it outdoors.
  3. Shelter - Staying dry and warm is most important in the case of winter storms. If your home has a safe fireplace, you have a good source of warmth for your family. Keep a stack of dry firewood in preparation for storm-related power failure. Gas logs will also work without power. Keep warm by dressing in layers. Wrap up in blankets for sleeping or sitting still. If you get wet, get dry as soon as possible. Make sure that your feet and hands stay warm and dry and check the hands and feet of children and older folks.
  4. Transportation - In case of emergency, you need to be able to get to help, or get a message to help so that they can get you. If it is safe to drive your car, help is available at your community fire department. A Deputy Sheriff will be stationed at fire departments when communications lines are down. If you have to walk to help, remember to take care of yourself so you don’t become the victim instead of the rescuer. Dress in layers, take water and food, and take the safest route even if it may take longer. 
  5. Radio - Most radio stations will broadcast even if your home power is off. Keep a battery-powered radio in your house with fresh batteries.

Other Things You Will Need:

  • Blankets
  • Sanitary Hand Wipes
  • Flashlights
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Extra Batteries
  • Candles, Oil Lamps, Matches or a Lighter
  • Hand-operated Can Opener
  • Wind-up or battery Powered Clock