Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Family, Children, Pets - they all need a plan!

As with any situation, being prepared is the key to survival. You wouldn’t go into a meeting without your presentation, you wouldn’t send your child to school without their school books, and you wouldn’t walk into a final exam without studying. You take such care making sure you and your family prepares for daily life, the same care should be taken to prepare for a disaster.

At home, develop a plan that the whole family knows and practice it regularly. In a tornado or severe weather, everyone needs to know where the safe room is. Practicing this drill is just as important as practicing your fire drill. When making your plan, include the following:
  • A safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.
  • During a thunderstorm. This safe room should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail.
  • An emergency kit that includes the basic necessities you will need while waiting out the storm such as a weather radio, flashlight, extra batteries, water, non-perishable food, emergency blanket, and first aid kit.
  • A plan for family pets to get them into a safe area. Make sure they have collars or identification on them in case they get out. If they are in the room with you make sure you have food and water for them as well as a leash or kennel to keep them secured.
  • Each member of the family should have a list of emergency contacts and one out-of-area contact person should be designated since it may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or programmed into their cell phones.
  • A safe meeting place. Not every disaster will happen when you and your family are all together in your home. After a disaster strikes make sure there is a safe meeting place established away from the neighborhood to meet up. Access to your home may be cut off, so you need a familiar place that everyone would be able to get to.
More useful tips and a checklist on what you can do to build a plan for your home and pets can be found at www.redcross.org.

Helpful Checklists from RedCross.org


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