Thank you for taking this very important step in your personal preparedness. Information contained on this page will provide information to help you prepare an emergency preparedness kit, develop a disaster plan, learn more about terrorist threats and provide other helpful links to disaster preparedness websites. By taking these few, simple steps we can become partners in emergency preparedness.
Emergency supply kits can be used during severe storms, electrical outages, evacuations, or threats of bioterrorism. Everyone needs to take steps now to be prepared for an emergency situation. Consider making two kits - one to shelter in place, the other to take if you have to get away. The second kit could be a smaller version of the first kit and packed in a backpack or duffle bag.
Your Emergency Preparedness Kit should have enough provisions for at least three days.
Essential items you will need:
- Water - approximately one gallon of water per person per day
- Food - canned and dried foods (remember manual can opener and eating utensils)
- Clothing - appropriate for the season; include footwear and rain gear.
- Bedding - blankets and sleeping bags
- Emergency supplies - first aid kit, flashlight, extra batteries, battery-powered radio, wrench/pliers (to turn off utilities), moist towelettes, plastic sheeting and duct tape
- Family needs - prescription medications, infant formula and diapers, eyeglasses/contacts, entertainment, etc.
- Family documents - insurance policies, birth certificates, bank account records, etc. (place in a portable waterproof container)
- Pets - store extra food, water and supplies for your pet
Having a family plan for a variety of emergency situations is vital. Since your family may not be together when an emergency strikes, a communication plan should be prepared and reviewed. One out-of-town person should be identified as the point of contact if family members are separated. Family members should have that person's phone number(s) or email address. If separated, each family member should contact the identified person.
You should be familiar with the emergency plans for family members' places of employment and/or school. Find out how they will communicate with families during an emergency. Knowing their emergency plans will better prepare individuals to safely reunite with their families and loved ones after an emergency. Be Informed.
It is important to have a general knowledge of some of the possible terrorist threats. Terrorists may use biological, chemical, nuclear or radiation threats in addition to explosions.
- A biological attack is the deliberate release of germs or other substances that can make you sick (anthrax, smallpox, botulism, plague). Many agents must be inhaled, enter through a cut in the skin or eaten to make you sick. Some are non contagious (anthrax). However, others are (smallpox).
- A chemical attack is the deliberate release of a toxic gas, liquid or solid that can poison people and the environment. Examples include nerve agents (VX, Sarin), Cyanide, blister agents (Mustard), etc.
- A nuclear blast is an explosion with intense light and heat, a damaging pressure wave and widespread radioactive material that can contaminate the air, water and ground surfaces for miles around.
- A radiation threat or "dirty bomb" is the use of common explosives to spread radioactive materials over a targeted area. While the blast will be immediately obvious, the presence of radiation will not (need specialized equipment).
When it comes to a terrorist threat, you may be required to take additional actions. Guidance will be provided to citizens via various forms of media.
Make a Plan
Plan for Appropriate Shelter
Identifying what type of emergency is present will assist in determining whether to stay or go. Emergency information is commonly broadcast via radio and television. You should understand and plan for both possibilities.
Sheltering in Place
Staying put is also known as sheltering in place. In certain circumstances, you may be asked to shelter in place and seal the room you are in from potentially contaminated outside air. When notified to do so, or if you suspect that the outside air is contaminated, you should immediately bring your family and pets inside. Remember to:
- Close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers
- Lock doors
- Turn off fans and/or air conditioning/heating systems
If possible choose an interior room with few windows and doors. To seal a room use plastic sheeting or plastic garbage bags with duct tape to seal windows, doors and air vents. This is a temporary protective measure to create a barrier between you and potentially contaminated air outside. It is strongly recommended that you measure, precut, and label your sheeting so as not to waste time during an actual emergency. Remember to take your emergency supply kit.
In certain situations, you may decide to get away or be ordered to leave. Create an evacuation plan now to identify places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood. Identify alternate routes to get to or away from your location.
Remember to take your emergency supply kit and lock your doors. Your evacuation plan should include provisions for your pets. Pets are not allowed in public shelters. Arrangements should be made ahead of time to locate places (kennels, motels, relatives, etc) that will accept your pets in case of an emergency evacuation. If time permits, consider calling or emailing your out-of-town contact and leaving a note in the house to inform others when you left and where you are going.