Disaster preparedness means helping to make every individual – no matter what age – know their hazards and know how to be properly prepared in the event of any number of emergencies or disasters. Knowing how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster can not only make you feel more secure, it may save your life or the life of a loved one. The following are some steps to take to better aide in becoming best prepared for any type of disaster.
Learn what protective measures to take before, during, and after an emergency.
MYTH: I DON’T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT DISASTERS WHERE I LIVE.
Emergency preparedness is not only for Californians, Midwesterners and Gulf Coast residents. Most communities may be impacted by several types of hazards during a lifetime. Americans also travel more than ever before to areas with different hazard risks than at home.
Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. Use this site to learn about potential emergencies that can happen and how to prepare for and respond to them.
BASIC PROTECTIVE MEASURES FOR ALL HAZARDS
Some basic protective actions are similar across many different hazards:
• Physical safety is a concern for all hazards and may involve sheltering or evacuating.
• Develop a family communications plan
• Make an emergency supply kit to be prepared for any type of disaster.
• Learn about receiving emergency alerts and local emergency plans for shelter and evacuation, local emergency contacts, and local advance alerts and warnings.
• When recovering from a disaster, safety as well as mental and physical well-being must be considered.
DISASTER SPECIFIC PREPAREDNESS
There are important differences among potential emergencies that should impact the decisions you make and the actions you take.
This site contains the following helpful information for each type of disaster:
• How to plan with your household and prepare in advance so you are ready
• Signs of hazardous events that come with very little warning
• How to protect your household during the disaster
• Begin recovery following the initial disaster
Learn this information for each type of disaster that could affect you:
• Natural Disasters
• Technological & Accidental Hazards
• Terrorist Hazards
• Home Fires
Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it is important to plan in advance: how you will get to a safe place; how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations. Read more about Family Communication during an emergency.
Ready.gov has made it simple for you to make a family emergency plan. Download the Family Communication Plan for Parents and Kids (PDF) and fill out the sections before printing it or emailing it to your family and friends. http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
You should also inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school, faith organizations, sports events and commuting. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one. Talk to community leaders, your colleagues, neighbors and members of faith or civic organizations about how you can work together in the event of an emergency. You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family and loved ones during an emergency if you think ahead and communicate with others in advance. Read more about school and workplace plans.
Have a plan for traveling between work and home, and other commonly visited locations, in case of an emergency. Download the Commuter Emergency Plan (PDF). http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.
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 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days.
Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.
In the face of disaster, Americans come together with courage, compassion and unity and ask, “How can I help?”
There are many ways to Get Involved especially before a disaster occurs. The whole community can participate in programs and activities to make their families, homes and communities safer from risks and threats. Community leaders agree the formula for ensuring a safer homeland consists of volunteers, a trained and informed public and increased support of emergency response agencies during disasters. Major disasters can overwhelm first responder agencies, empowering individuals to lend support.
So Get Involved before disaster strikes! Here are a few ways you can help:
• Volunteer to support disaster efforts in your community. Get trained and volunteer with a Community Emergency Response Team, Medical Reserve Corps unit and/or other Citizen Corps Partner Program or Affiliate organization. Many local faith-based and community organizations have programs active in supporting disasters too. View more volunteer opportunities.
• Be part of the community planning process. Connect and collaborate with your local emergency planning group, Citizen Corps Council or local emergency management agency. Contact the nearest planning organization.
• Join or start a preparedness project. Find an event or identify local resources, build a team, choose a project, set goals and serve your community by improving the preparedness of your friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Get started.
• Support major disasters by donating cash or goods which may help meet the needs of your community in times of disaster. Learn more.
This represents only a few of the many ways that individuals and community organizations can Get Involved to help communities lessen, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. If you have additional ideas or success stories, you may share them by contacting us or posting them on http://community.fema.gov .
For additional opportunities that may be unique to your community, contact your local emergency management agency or Citizen Corps Council in your area. Join the Greater New Braunfels/Comal County Community Emergency Response Team. For more information go to /Departments/EmergencyManagement/NBCERT