Most of us will never have to face a life-threatening emergency. However, hurricanes, fires, and other natural disasters do hit New York City, and it is important that you have an emergency for you, your family, and your house.
The information below is taken from the Center for Disease Control, and can be found at this web address: www.cdc.gov/phpr/areyouprepared
Have an emergency kit ready in your home. The kit should have the following at minimum:
- At Least a 3-day Supply of Food (canned goods that won't spoil) and Water (one gallon per person, per day). Don't forget a manual can opener!
- Health supplies: if you are on medication, make sure you have 3 days worth of supplies
- A First Aid kit
- Emergency blankets
- A whistle
- Extra batteries for the flashlight and your phone
- Copies of any important documents and/or medical conditions
- Personal care items such as soap, toothbrush, baby wipes
- Maps of the area
- Multipurpose tool (that can act as a knife, file, pliers, and screwdriver)
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
Make a communication plan with your family: disaster may strike at any time, not necessarily when everyone is at home at the same time. Phones and lines of communication may not be available. It is important that everyone in your home understands where to go and what to do, even if you cannot talk to one another. I have simply copied the recommendations from the CDC here:
ou and your loved ones may not be together when a disaster hits. Make a plan for how you will connect to each other. Start by taking the following steps:
- Complete a contact card for each family member. Everyone should keep these cards with them at all times.
- Choose an emergency contact. Memorize the phone number if you can. A friend or relative who lives out of town might be easier to reach in an emergency. During an emergency, family members can text or call this person to let them know that they are safe.
- Make sure all your family members know how to text. Make sure everyone knows how to turn on a cell phone, find the text messaging app, type a message, and send it to a contact.
- Know emergency telephone numbers. Keep them in your cell phone and post them near your home phones. Some good numbers to have are your emergency contact, the fire department, police station, and hospital near you.
Get the kids ready!
- Teach kids how and when to call 911.
- Quiz your kids on the plan to make sure they remember what to do.
- Include your kids in planning and drills.
Make a Family Disaster PlanBefore making your disaster plan, it is important to know what types of emergencies are likely in your area and the best way to respond. For example, if tornadoes are common in your area, you will need to know what the warning signs are and where to take shelter. Check with your Local Red Cross chapter or Emergency Management Agency for more information about disasters that might happen in your community.
- Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster. For example, during an earthquake you will need to “drop, cover, and hold on” under a sturdy desk or table. However, during a tornado, you would need to seek shelter in a lower level room without windows. Learn more about different types of disasters.
- Choose multiple meeting places. Different disasters may require you to go to different places. Make sure you choose a meeting place in your neighborhood, a meeting place just outside your neighborhood, and a meeting place out of town.
- Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways to get out of each room.
- Practice, practice, practice. Review these plans with all members of your family. Practice your disaster plans by running drills with the whole family.
- Don’t Forget Pets! Think about what you would do with your pets, because they may not be allowed in emergency shelters. For more information, check out Preparing Your Pet for Emergencies.
STEP 3Stay Informed: below
- Check with your local emergency management agency. Find out what kinds of emergencies could happen in your area.
- Find out how to get local emergency alerts.Check with your local health department or emergency management agency to see how they share emergency information and find out the best ways to get disaster information from local authorities. Some communities use:
- Emergency texts
- Phone calling systems
- Digital road signs
- Social media
- Sirens and speakers
- Learn about your community’s warning signals. Be able to recognize what the warning signals sound and look like and what you should do when you hear or see them.
- Tune in. Listen to and watch reliable news sources. Keep a weather radio handy.
Watches and WarningsIn addition to understanding how you will be informed of potential threats, you need to understand the terms that are used for weather threats.
- A watch means that there is a high possibility that a weather emergency will occur. When a severe storm watch is issued for your area, continue to listen to the radio or television for updates and pay attention to visible weather changes around you.
- A warning means that a weather emergency is already happening, or will happen soon. When you hear a warning, take immediate action