The Basics : Emergency Preparedness Phase One

          Gathering Your Basic Supplies and Resources

Our challenge this month is to Spend 2 hours with our household to prepare for a general disaster (30 minutes a week, or 5 minutes a day), as well as a fire emergency. The guidelines for general emergency preparedness have been summarized in the 5 steps below:

Step 1: Purchase a 3-ring folder or binder for Keeping Your Preparedness Plans and records organized. You can download and use the 8 page Disaster Planning Guide, or you can  use the county's emergency preparedness app to help you with your 72 hour survival plan . In the 8 page guide you will be instructed to do and record the following:

Step 2: Locate the following ( Learn and record how to shut off utilities):
              a. Main Water Valve 
              b. Gas Valve  (Do not shut off gas unless you suspect a leak exists)
              c. Electric Panel
              d  Household Wrench:
              e.Garage Door Manual Override

Step 3: Prepare Your Emergency Evacuation Plan
      A.  On a separate sheet of paper, draw a floor plan of your home showing the location of the
      following :
            a. exit doors and windows
            b.utility shutoffs
            c.first aid kit, 
            d. Emergency supplies:  You can prepare your supplies with the help of the disaster  planning guide or  app referenced above.
     B. Ensure EVERYONE in your household is familiar with it. Show it to babysitters and house guests when you're going away.
     C. Reunion locations: Establish two places where you and your family can meet following an emergency. One immediately outside of your home, e.g. a neighbor’s mailbox, or community park AND another site outside of your immediate community in case you are unable to return  home.
            a.Home Location:
            b.Away-from-Home Location:

Step 4: Create Your  Emergency Contacts List *:
Step 5 :Conduct Regular Family Meetings and Practice:
At least once a year, have a meeting with your family to discuss and update your disaster plan. Determine what additional training, equipment, and supplies are needed to meet your family’s needs. 
Don’t forget to practice! Occasional drills can improve reaction time and help to avoid panic in an actual emergency. It also helps people feel less disoriented and better organized in case of a disaster – even in the middle of the night. As you practice, pay close attention to the following:

A. make sure your family knows where to locate fire extinguishers, gas and water valves, and the main circuit breaker.
B. Make sure your Family Disaster Plan is up to date (do this every year). This includes verifying the telephone numbers and personal information of everyone listed in the plan. You should print updated copies of that information for all the members of your family.
C. Check the contents of your emergency kits. Every year change the batteries in your flashlights and portable radio. At the same time,  replace you spare batteries with new ones.
D.  Replenish your emergency kits as needed. Replace bottled water and ensure that all food is still safe to eat and that medications have not expired.

* If you have children living with you who are school aged you should 1) know the school’s disaster plan 2) Determine what is required to release your child to your representatives if you cannot get there yourself, and 3) Ensure that the school knows your current contact information and those people authorized to pick up your child.

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