In our region, we face a variety of different hazards, threats of tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flooding, severe cold weather, and snow storms are just a few of the most common ones. The time to take responsibility for your family and community is before a disaster strikes. Every day, we take steps to keep our region safe and ensure we thrive after emergencies or disasters occur.
Families and individuals need to be prepared for thunderstorms, including damaging winds, tornadoes, large hail, flash flooding, and winter storms associated with freezing rain, sleet, snow and strong winds.
Floods are one of the most common, and most costly, natural disasters. Preparing now for flood situations can minimize injury to yourself and your family and speed the recovery process. Turn Around, Don’t Drown! ®
Utility outages pose significant risks for members of the community who are reliant on medical implements such as dialysis, oxygen, or ventilation machines. Be sure to have alternative power sources to keep devices charged during emergencies.
Our coalition exists within the New Madrid Seismic Zone, this increases the risk from earthquake related damage. It’s important that families and individuals ensure their homes are as prepared as possible a potential earthquake.
1. Get a kit – Be prepared with at least a three days’ supply of food, water and medications for each member of your family. Be sure to check your kits contents each time you’re change your smoke detector batteries.
2. Make a plan – It’s critical to have a plan for your family, a good plan will include instructions for communicating in a disaster, sheltering in place and knowing when to evacuate. Your plans should be updated as things change in your family and should be exercised annually.
3. Be informed – It’s always important to be aware of the risks and disasters that exist in your area. You can find information on your local hazards through sites such as ready.gov or your local emergency management agencies.
4. Get involved – It’s recommended that after preparing yourself and your family that you work to prepare your neighbors and your community. Programs such as Community Emergency Response Teams or Medical Reserve Corps can help you to collaborate on your community’s disaster plans.
Your family’s emergency plan needs to be detailed enough to allow you to operate in most any event that might occur. There are number of steps and areas that need to be addressed, these are outlined below and will help you to build a comprehensive family emergency plan.
Establish meeting locations – If you need to evacuate your home, you need to know where you will meet. It’s a good idea to have one location close to your home, as well as one a little farther away incase you can’t return home.
Develop a family communications plan – In a disaster, communications are always a problem, these problems can be lessened through advanced planning. It’s important to have contact names and number for friends or family members both in the immediate area, as well as contacts out of state as long distance service is sometimes serviceable when local service isn’t. It’s also wise to identify a standard set of alternative means for communication, it could be leaving a message a specific place or posting on social media.
Get emergency alerts and notifications – It’s critical to keep aware of the situation in your area, this can often be done using alerting applications on your smartphone or computer, these warnings may be able to provide enough advanced notice to avoid further problems down the road.
Plan your evacuation – Depending on the nature of the event you may find yourself required to evacuate your home, business or school. It’s important to factor evacuations and requirements into your plan, knowing when to evacuate, where you will go and how you will communicate with your family and friends.
When you can’t evacuate – There may be incidents that preclude you from evacuating, in those incidents you may need to shelter in place in your home, school or place of business. There are many resources available through federal, state and local emergency management agencies that can assist you with being more prepared for sheltering in place.
Plan for everyone’s needs – Don’t forget to plan for everyone in your household, including family members with medical issues; and of course, your pets. Make sure you have a supply of any needed medications, supplies or equipment, as well as a supply of any special foods or items for pets and children.
Practice your plan – It’s suggested that families practice their emergency plans at least 2-3 times a year. Practice things like fire drills, evacuating your home and communicating using your families communications plan. It’s better to practice often, as practice makes perfect and prevents problems.
Consider other Plans – It’s important that you know what your communities, employers and school’s emergency plans are. You may find that your plans conflict with those of the authorities around you.