What You Can Do to Prepare
Finding out what can happen is the first step. Once you have determined the events possible and their potential in your community, it is important that you discuss them with your family or household. Develop a disaster plan together.
Create an Emergency Communications Plan
Choose an out-of-town contact your family or household will call or e-mail to check on each other should a disaster occur. Your selected contact should live far enough away that they would be unlikely to be directly affected by the same event, and they should know they are the chosen contact.
Make sure every household member has that contact's, and each other's, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers (home, work, pager, and cell). Leave these contact numbers at your children's schools, if you have children, and at your workplace.
Your family should know that if telephones are not working, they need to be patient and try again later or try e-mail. Many people flood the telephone lines when emergencies happen but e-mail can sometimes get through when calls don't.
Establish a Meeting Place
Having a predetermined meeting place away from your home will save time and minimize confusion should your home be affected or the area evacuated. You may even want to make arrangements to stay with a family member or friend in case of an emergency. Be sure to include any pets in these plans, since pets are not permitted in shelters and some hotels will not accept them.
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit
If you need to evacuate your home or are asked to shelter in place, having some essential supplies on hand will make you and your family more comfortable. Prepare a disaster supplies kit in an easy-to-carry container such as a duffel bag or small plastic trash can. Include:
- Special needs items for any member of your household (infant formula or items for people with disabilities or older people)
- First aid supplies (including prescription medications)
- A change of clothing for each household member
- A sleeping bag or bedroll for each
- A battery powered radio or television and extra batteries
- Bottled water
It is also a good idea to include some cash and copies of important family documents (birth certificates, passports, and licenses) in your kit.
Copies of essential documents like powers of attorney, birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies, life insurance beneficiary designations, and a copy of your will should also be kept in a safe location outside your home. A safe deposit box or the home of a friend or family member who lives out of town is a good choice.
For more complete instructions, Contact Harper County Emergency Management Office or the American Red Cross for the brochure detailing your family disaster supplies kit. For more information visit the Segwick County website.
Check on the School Emergency Plan of Any School-Age Children You May Have
You need to know if they will they keep children at school until a parent or designated adult can pick them up or send them home on their own. Be sure that the school has updated information about how to reach parents and responsible caregivers to arrange for pickup. And, ask what type of authorization the school may require to release a child to someone you designate, if you are not able to pick up your child.