The best way to survive and recover from a disaster is to make sure that everyone is planning and working together before, during, and after such an event.
Working Together: Schools, daycare providers, workplaces, neighborhoods, and apartment buildings, like individuals and families, should all have site-specific emergency plans. Ask about plans at the places where your family spends time: work school and other places you frequent. If none exist, consider volunteering to help develop one. You will be better prepared to reunite your family and loved ones safely during an emergency if you think ahead, and communicate with others in advance.
Neighborhoods and Apartment Buildings: A community working together during an emergency also makes sense. Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together. Find out if anyone has specialized equipment, like a power generator, or expertise such as medical knowledge, that might help in a crisis. Decide who will check on elderly or disabled neighbors. Make backup plans for children in case you can't get home in an emergency. Sharing plans and communicating in advance is a good strategy.
Schools and Daycare: If you are a parent, or guardian of an elderly or disabled adult, make sure schools or daycare providers have emergency response plans. Ask how they will communicate with families during a crisis. Do they store adequate food, water and other emergency supplies? Find out if they are prepared to "shelter-in-place" if need be, and where they plan to go if they must get away.
Employers: If you are an employer, make sure your workplace has a building evacuation plan that is regularly practiced. Take a critical look at your heating ventilation and air-conditioning system to determine if it is secure or if it could be feasibly upgraded to better filter potential contaminants. Be sure you, and others, know how to turn off the system if necessary. Think about what to do if your employees can't go home, and make sure you have appropriate supplies on hand.
It is important to remember, there are significant differences among potential terrorist threats that will influence the decisions you make and the actions you take. By beginning a process of learning about these specific threats, you are preparing yourself to react in an emergency.
Listed below are talking points developed by FEMA that will help you in making you and your family as prepared as possible if there is a disaster in the area in which you live.
(2) Be informed
(9) Emergency kit
(10) Emergency money
(11) Fire safety
(12) Get involved
(14) Important documents
(15) Make a plan
(16) Medical supplies
(18) Stay or go
(21) Working together
Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now.
Information was developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in consultation with AARP, the American Red Cross and the National Organization on Disability.
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