Community Emergency Preparedness Information & Resources
A survey completed by Columbia Climate School and posted online on February 9, 2016 revealed that Roughly (65%) of American Households DO NOT have adequate plans and supplies in place for a disaster.
A September 2, 2015 article on SmallBusiness.com revealed that only 37% of businesses within the United States had a formal disaster / preparation plan in place.
Personal preparedness includes being ready for emergencies at home, in your car, or anywhere else you may spend time. These preparedness efforts are a team effort. We are hopeful that the information and resources we provide help you and your family to be better prepared for any future emergencies or disasters.
Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters. What you do now can help you and your family better respond to and recover from any disaster or emergency, as well as contribute to the overall readiness of your community. Although there are many things that people can do to increase their preparedness for emergencies, the three basic steps listed below are a good start that cover most situations.
Make a Kit
You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 3 days.
The following items are recommended for a basic emergency supply kit:
- One (1) gallon of water per person per day for at least three (3) days, for drinking and sanitation.
- At least three (3) day supply of non-perishable food items.
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- First Aid Kit.
- Whistle to signal for help.
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food).
- Local maps, cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charging capabilities.
- Ready.gov (Printable) Emergency Supply Checklist.
- America’s PrepareAthon Detailed (8 page – printable) Family Communications Plan.
Make a Plan
Before any emergency happens, make a plan. To start, sit down as a family and create a communications plan. Make sure everyone has each other’s phone numbers and also has numbers for other family or friends nearby who can help relay information.
Also decide on a good safe location you can all meet at if you are unable to return home right away. A friend, family member or local landmark (church, school, etc.)
Write down it all down (see useful, printable lists below) and make copies for everyone and keep a copy in your emergency supply kit. Remember to check the plan periodically to make sure its always up-to-date. And do not forget to create a plan and gather supplies for your family’s four-legged members.
Practice Your Family’s Emergency Plan
Preparing your family for a disaster involves more than just creating a plan. Each family member – especially children – should know exactly what to do during an emergency. Here are some helpful suggestions to communicate the importance of disaster preparedness to your family.
- Designate Roles / Responsibilities: Give everyone in your family a responsibility. Each family member is an intergral part of the plan and each has an important contribution.
- Role-play: Younger family members may be easily upset if they see a parent worried or panicking. Spend an afternoon pretending an emergency has occured and allow everyone to practice their designated roles. This will help your family be better prepared for the rush of emotions they may experience during a disaster.
- Visit Emergency Meeting Places: If you have chosen an emergency meeting place, make certain your family is familiar with the location. Assist family members in recognizing landmarks (i.e., buildings, signs, curiously shaped trees or other landmarks, etc.) to help remind them of where they are or where they should be going. Ensure family members memorize emergency rendezvous location addresses.
- Introduce Your Family to Emergency Contacts: Young children may not be comfortable talking with strangers – even strangers their parents have designated as safe. Introduce your children to emergency contacts and explain their role in your family’s disaster plan. Instruct children regarding safe authority figures, such as firemen, police officers, emergency medical personnel, etc.
- Practice: Regularly quiz family members about the family’s emergency preparedness plan. Make it a game for younger children. Who’s our local emergency contact? Where do we go when there’s an emergency? Who’s responsible for watching the dog? What is our address? What are the phone numbers you will call? What will you do if we get separated? Where is the emergency kit stored and what is in it? Where is the water stored? How do you use a manual can opener? How do you use a cell phone or landline? The more the family practices the plan, the better family members will be able to recall what to do during an actual emergency.
- Point Out Emergency Essentials: Be sure everybody in your family know the location of your Disaster Supply / Emergency Kit. Keep your Disaster Supply / Emergency Kit in one place – if you move it, let everyone know the new storage location.
- Be Honest: Everyone in your family will have questions about preparedness. Take the time to address questions, concerns, and fears, honestly and factually. Discuss mental health concerns, evacuation, sheltering, and returning home. Emphasize, although the situation may be difficult, and there may be loss and/or sadness, the family has made and practiced the plans to survive and recover from any disaster situation.
Interested in learning more, or finding fun and interactive preparedness activities for children, or possibly create an even more prominent family emergency plan? Feel free to visit some of these following websites for more.
Per the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – Businesses can do much to prepare for the impact of the many hazards they face in today’s world including natural hazards, human-caused hazards or technology related hazards. DHS has provided the following list of hazards.
- Natural hazards could be a flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake or a widespread serious illness such as the H1N1 flu virus pandemic or COVID.
- Human-caused hazards include accidents, acts of violence by people and acts of terrorism.
- Examples of technology-related hazards are the failure or malfunction of systems, equipment or software.
To minimize the impact of those listed hazards/disasters on employees, property, and operations, businesses must make the right preparations. These include: creating a disaster plan, identifying priorities, training employees on emergency preparedness, and reviewing the business’ insurance coverage. Below are the “Top 10 Preparedness Tips” according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
- Organize a staff team to create your plan.
- Gather critical documents and information needed for decision making.
- Identify and prioritize the company’s most important operations and processes.
- Identify hazards and potential disruptions to your operations.
- Keep it simple: design a plan that is easy to understand and implement.
- Create a communications strategy and plan to use it post emergency. Maintain an up-to-date emergency contact list for employees, vendors, suppliers, and other key stakeholders.
- Recruit and train employee volunteers that can effectively manage the response.
- Back up and store vital records and data at an off-site location.
- Take action to mitigate the potential impact of a disaster on equipment, buildings, facilities, inventory, and storage. Consider your insurance options and whether to purchase a generator.
- Exercise, test, and update your plan at least annually.
Utilize the checklists offered below to begin constructing your preparedness plan/activities.
Below are a few toolkits and self assessment documents (created by Ready.gov) you can use to test your current plans (if in place) or help to create a stronger emergency plan.
Follow the links below to learn more about business disaster/emergency planning and recovery.
National Preparedness Month (NPM) is an observance each September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. The 2021 theme is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”
For the first time in its history, the Ready Campaign, in partnership with the Ad Council, identified the Hispanic community as a key audience, and will launch a series of Public Service Advertisements specifically designed to encourage preparedness within the underserved demographic.
Each week in September, the campaign will focus on a different aspect of preparedness for individuals, families and communities.
Week 1 September 1-4: Make A Plan
Talk to your friends and family about how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster. Make sure to update your plan based on the Centers for Disease Control recommendations due to the Coronavirus.
Week 2 September 5-11: Build A Kit
Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home. Don’t forget to consider the unique needs each person or pet may have in case you have to evacuate quickly. Update your kits and supplies based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control.
Week 3 September 12-18: Low-Cost, No-Cost Preparedness
Limit the impacts that disasters have on you and your family. Know the risk of disasters in your area. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards. Check your insurance coverage to make sure it is up-to-date.
Week 4 September 19-25: Teach Youth About Preparedness
Talk to your kids about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Reassure them by providing information about how they can get involved.
Learn much more at Ready.gov!