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How to Prepare for a Natural Disaster

Create a Disaster Preparedness Plan for you and your family.

Disasters can strike at anytime with or without warning. What will you do if you are separated from your family? By creating a well thought out Emergency Plan, you can ensure that you and your family will know what to do if disaster strikes.

Disaster Preparedness Planning

  • Find someone to be an out-of town contact. When disaster strikes, local phone service may be disrupted. It may be easier to make a long-distance call rather than to call someone in your town so an out-of-town contact may be able to communicate quicker among family members.
  • Make sure that all members of your family know the phone number and if possible, have a cell phone, coins, or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to contact someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.
  • Make sure that all family members are familiar without how to use Text Messaging. This may be the only way of communicating if phone lines are down.
  • Subscribe to local alert services; most communities have alert systems set up so that you can receive breaking news on your mobile device.

Making the Right Decision

If an evacuation is not issued but the area is still dangerous, you may need to make the important decision of staying where you are or leaving. You should plan for both when creating your disaster preparedness plan. If you feel you are in immediate danger then you should leave. Use your best judgment and do whatever you can to remain safe.

Be Informed

Familiarize yourself with the kinds of disasters, both natural and man-made, that are most likely to occur in your area and how you will be notified. Some communities will broadcast emergency information via the television or radio. Your community may also use sirens to warn of danger. No matter what method your community uses, you should know what it is and how to respond.

You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one. Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together in the event of an emergency. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance.