Terrorism and Other Public Health Threats - Getting Organized
A little organization can go a
long way towards helping you feel ready to handle the unexpected. Having an
emergency plan and an emergency supplies kit for your household can help you
and your family be better prepared for any kind of disaster.
Developing an emergency plan
Putting together an
emergency plan is easy:
- Choose a friend or relative as a contact
person for family members to call if they are separated during a disaster. It
is best to choose an out-of-state contact. Make sure every member of your
household has the contact's phone number. Email may also be a good way to get
- Pick a place to meet outside your neighborhood in case
you cannot return home. Make sure every member of your household has the
address and phone number. (Also designate a place to meet just outside your
home—a neighbor's front yard, for instance—in case there is a fire in your
- Write down where and how to turn off the water, gas, and
electricity to the house. Make sure you have any special tools this requires,
such as a T-wrench for the water line.
- Discuss what you would do if
you had to leave your home and the area. Include your pets in your plans. Most
emergency shelters and health facilities will not accept
- Keep important documents, such as birth certificates,
marriage licenses, wills, insurance forms, telephone numbers you might need,
and credit card information together and readily available in case you need to
quickly evacuate your home.
You may have other things that you want to include,
especially if you have children in school or if anyone in your household has
special needs. Review your plan yearly, and make sure that phone numbers,
email addresses, and other items are still current.
Assembling an emergency supplies kit
essentials of an emergency kit are the same no matter what the situation:
food and water, first aid supplies and medicines, blankets and clothing,
special-needs items (such as baby formula), and certain tools and household
items, including a battery-powered radio, a flashlight, and extra
batteries. You can also use a radio or flashlight that is powered by a hand crank and so does not need batteries.
Visit the American Red Cross's website at
www.redcross.org for a checklist to use as you gather supplies. Store
everything in one place, preferably a cool, dark location. Consider putting
together a smaller version of your emergency kit that you could take if you had
to leave home or
shelter in place.
After you've assembled
your emergency supplies, remember to check and replace them
- Bottled water that has remained sealed and
unopened needs to be replaced once a year. Water in containers that you filled
yourself needs to be replaced every 6 months.
- Follow the Red
Cross's guidelines (www.redcross.org) on how often to replace food supplies.
Even "nonperishable" items may need to be replaced.
- Remember that
both nonprescription and prescription medicines have expiration dates.