Disasters happen anytime and anywhere. And when disaster strikes, you may not have much time to respond. A highway spill or hazardous material could mean evacuation. A winter storm could confine your family at home. An earthquake, flood, tornado, or any other disaster could cut water, electricity, and telephones-for days. After a disaster, local officials and relief workers will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it may take days. Would your family be prepared to cope with the emergency until help arrives? Your family will cope best by preparing for disaster before it strikes. One way to prepare is by assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit. Once disaster hits, you won't have time to shop or search for supplies. But if you've gathered supplies in advance, you and your family can endure an evacuation or home confinement.

 

Planning for Emergencies

Here are some suggestions to help you and your family be more prepared in the event of an emergency:

 

 Hold meetings at home (building or neighborhood) and at work to establish a set of survival procedures, as well as to create an Emergency Response Team (ERT)

 Have a set of emergency phone numbers posted next to each phone in the home, office, and in the automobile.

 Take a first aid class and keep your training current

 Get training in how to use a fire extinguisher. In case of a fire, know where the closest fire extinguishers are, and check them periodically to make sure they are charged. Note that fire extinguishers are short-lived, so have someone stand behind you ready to take over with a fresh extinguisher.

 As a general rule, remember P.A.S.S: Pull the pin. Aim the nozzle. Squeeze the lever. Sweep low at the base of the fire.

 If you smell gas or think its leaking, turn the gas off if safe to do so

 Turn on the radio for emergency bulletins (KGO 810, KCBS 740 and KLIV 1590 in the Bay Area)

 Set up a communications network. Often during the aftermath of emergencies such as earthquakes and fires, you may not be able to dial locally, but may still have the ability to call long distance. Memorize the phone number for an out-of-town contact (i.e. friends or relatives living at least several hundred miles away) and make sure that everyone in your family knows who this person is and their phone number. Have each person in your family (or in your particular group) call that main contact person to check in. This out-of-town contact will act as the relay for your family, group, etc.

 Change your voicemail message to say Im okay

 Do not panic

Next: Building An Emergency First Aid Kit

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