Preparing Your Family: Make an Emergency Plan
Before making your disaster plan, its important to know what types of emergencies are likely in your area and the best way to respond. For example, on Nantucket you should be prepared and plan for hurricanes. Check with NEMA for more information.
The CDC recommends that your emergency plan include:
- Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster. For example, during an earthquake you will need to "drop, cover, and hold on" under a sturdy desk or table. However, during a tornado, you would need to seek shelter in a lower level room without windows. Learn more about different types of disasters.
- Choose multiple meeting places. Different disasters may require you to go to different places. Make sure you choose a meeting place in your neighborhood, a meeting place just outside your neighborhood, and a meeting place out of town.
- Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways to get out of each room.
- Buy a fire extinguisher and make sure each family member knows how to use it.
- PRACTICE. Review these plans with all members of your family. Practice your disaster plans by running drills with the whole family.
- Don't Forget Pets! Think about what you would do with your pets, because they may not be allowed in emergency shelters. For more information, check out Preparing Your Pet for Emergencies.
- Complete a contact card for each family member. Everyone should keep these cards with them at all times.
- Choose an emergency contact. Memorize the phone number if you can. A friend or relative who lives out of town might be easier to reach in an emergency. During an emergency, family members can text or call this person to let them know that they are safe.
- Make sure all your family members know how to text. Make sure everyone knows how to turn on a cell phone, find the text messaging app, type a message, and send it to a contact.
- Know emergency telephone numbers. Keep them in your cell phone and post them near your home phones. Some good numbers to have are your emergency contact, the fire department, police station, and hospital near you.
- Make an emergency supplies kit with these supplies.
You should also make sure that all family members know what to do when the power goes out, or during a flood if you live in an area with a risk for flooding.
Preparing Your Home
- Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
- Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
- Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
- Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
- Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.