Don’t End Up Like This! Take a few Simple Steps to Be Prepared!
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations.
Family Emergency Plan
- Identify an out-of town contact. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
- Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone, coins, or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.
- Teach family members how to use text messaging (also knows as SMS or Short Message Service). Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.
- Subscribe to alert services. Many communities now have systems that will send instant text alerts or e-mails to let you know about bad weather, road closings, local emergencies, etc. Sign up by visiting your local Office of Emergency Management web site.
Planning to Stay or Go
Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the emergency, the first important decision is whether you stay where you are or evacuate. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. Use common sense and available information, including what you are learning here, to determine if there is an immediate danger. In any emergency, local authorities may or may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for information or official instruction as it becomes available. Further information on staying put or sheltering in place.
Find out what kinds of disasters, both natural and man-made, are most likely to occur in your area and how you will be notified. Methods of getting your attention vary from community to community. One common method is to broadcast via emergency radio and TV broadcasts. You might hear a special siren, or get a telephone call, or emergency workers may go door-to-door.
Use the Quick Share application to help your family in assembling a quick reference list of contact information for your family, and a meeting place for emergency situations.
You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one. Talk to your neighbors 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: School and Workplace.
Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the attack, the first important decision is whether you stay put or get away. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. Use common sense and available information, including what you are learning here, to determine if there is immediate danger.
In any emergency, local authorities may or may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should monitor TV or radio news reports for information or official instructions as they become available. If you’re specifically told to evacuate or seek medical treatment, do so immediately.
Schools & the Workplace:
Like individuals and families, schools, daycare providers, workplaces, neighborhoods and apartment buildings should all have site-specific emergency plans.
Ask about plans at the places where your family spends the most time: work, school and other places you frequent. If none exist, consider volunteering to help develop one. 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.
For more information on working together, visit Citizen Corps.
Schools and Daycare
If you are a parent, or guardian of an elderly or disabled adult, make sure schools and daycare providers have emergency response plans.
» Visit Ready Kids for more information.
- Ask how they will communicate with families during a crisis.
- Ask if they store adequate food, water and other basic supplies.
- Find out if they are prepared to “shelter-in-place” if need be, and where they plan to go if they must get away.
For more information on developing emergency preparedness plans for schools, please visit the U.S. Department of Education.
If you are an employer, make sure your workplace has a building evacuation plan that is regularly practiced.
» Visit Ready Business for more information.
- Take a critical look at your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to determine if it is secure or if it could feasibly be upgraded to better filter potential contaminants, and be sure you know how to turn it off if you need to.
- Think about what to do if your employees can’t go home.
- Make sure you have appropriate supplies on hand.
- Read more at Get a Kit and Staying Put.
As the New Year approaches, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Campaign is once again reminding people to Resolve to be Ready in 2011. Americans who make New Year’s resolutions are 11 times more likely to report continued success in achieving a goal than individuals who have not made a resolution, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology. The Ready Campaign would like to make an emergency preparedness resolution easy to keep by providing the tools and resources needed to take the three important steps: get a kit, make a plan and be informed about the different types of emergencies that can happen in your area and their appropriate responses. We hope you will join the Ready Campaign this Holiday Season in promoting Resolve to be Ready.
On this page you will find a toolkit to help your organization develop internal and external messages to encourage your members, employees, constituents, customers and community to make a New Year’s resolution to prepare for emergencies. You will also find Web banners for your organization’s Web site, a sample E-mail and a Newsletter you can share with your key constituents.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Ready at Ready@dhs.gov.
Now’s the Time. Resolve to be Ready in 2011.
Resolve to be Ready Toolkit
Resolve To Be Ready Toolkit
PDF, 538 Kb
Resolve to be Ready Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation
Resolve To Be Ready Powerpoint Presentation
MS PPT, 5.5 Mb
All Resolve to be Ready Collateral
Resolve To Be Ready ZIP Archive
ZIP, 6.5 Mb
More information is available at: http://www.ready.gov/america/index.html