September is National Preparedness Month!

No one likes to think about experiencing a disaster, but its best to plan ahead, and avoid trying to figure out what to do when an extreme situation strikes. During this month of preparedness, take some time to create an emergency plan for you and those you love. Read on for some helpful tips and steps to get you started:

Why Make a Plan

Creating an emergency plan will not just help you weather a storm, it will give you peace of mind that those you care about will be safe. But that can only happen if you practice your plan. Its especially important to drill young children and elderly family members on what they should do when disaster strikes.

Be sure all family members know how to dial 911, know their phone number and home address, as well as making sure they understand how critical it is to follow the plan for maximum safety.

Severe Storms

Know The Difference

  • A Storm Watch: emergencies are possible and the situation is being monitored
  • A Storm Warning: emergencies are occurring or will imminently, and you should take action for your protection

Tornado

  1.  The safest place in your home during a tornado is an underground space or an interior room on the first floor with no windows. Consider having your safe room inspected and reinforced especially for tornado emergencies.
  2. If there is time, secure outdoor furniture and other objects that could become projectiles during storms (trampolines, etc).
  3. Know where your local emergency shelter is located

Floods

  1. Be sure you are listening to or watching the news to stay informed of evacuation calls
  2. Avoid contact with floodwater. It could very well be contaminated
  3. FOLLOW EVACUATION INSTRUCTIONS! Staying in your home can result in you being stranded or hurt with no access to help or emergency services.

Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

In Case of Fire

  1. Create a floor plan of your home. You can use a free grid and tips from the National Fire Protection Association to get started.
  • Mark exits for each room – there should be two ways out no matter where you are in the house
  • Mark smoke detector locations
  • Draw escape routes from each room so everyone knows where they should go.

2. Determine a meeting place a safe distance from the house and mark it on the escape plan as well.

3. Assign a person in the home to assist children and the elderly.

Earthquakes

While rare in our neck of the woods, we do still get earthquakes from time to time.

To remain safe during an earthquake, find the places in your home that are the safest: no tall, heavy, unsecured items or furniture should be nearby.

Ready.gov recommends you do not get into a doorway or run outside if you are at home when an earthquake strikes. Wherever you are remember: Drop, Cover, then Hold On!

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere. Packing a supplies kit and keeping it in a place anyone in the family can access it can make a big difference in how you handle an emergency. Your kit should include enough of the following items to last for at least 3 days:

Review your kit regularly, replacing expired items (including medicines) and adding new items as your needs change (like if you add a new family member or pet to your household).

Give yourself the peace of mind of knowing you and your loved ones are prepared for any emergency. Already have a plan and emergency kit made? This is a great opportunity to check everything over and make updates!