Recent tornadoes in the U.S., tropical storms and the many severe storms this past winter are a dramatic reminder that emergencies—fire, power outages, or natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes—can strike quickly and with little or no warning. They can force individuals or families to evacuate their neighborhood or city for days, weeks, or even months, or confine them to their home. Emergencies can threaten peoples’ lives and livelihoods and have damaging effects that can last for years.
For many emergencies, typical first responders—firefighters, emergency medical technicians, police, or utility maintenance people—may be overwhelmed or prevented from reaching people in need by downed trees or electrical power poles, broken bridges and washed-out roads, flooding, or other circumstances. A person or family may have to depend on neighbors or just themselves to make it through the initial damage from an emergency.
Families and individuals can best cope with the effects of a disaster by preparing in advance. Having a plan, knowing how to respond, and having emergency supplies on hand is the best way to protect yourself and your family. Family disaster plans are easy to develop, and there are many online resources available to help create them. Preparedness can give you the resources needed to survive a disastrous event. Part of being ready includes ongoing monitoring of weather reports from the television, radio or online.
Following are sources for emergency preparedness information, including detailed plans:
- The American Red Cross has a broad range of advice on preparing for disaster here [http://www.redcross.org/prepare]
- The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommendations for emergency preparedness here. [http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/]
- You can download The Federal Emergency Management Agency‘s comprehensive guide Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness [http://www.fema.gov/pdf/areyouready/areyouready_full.pdf]
Are you and your family prepared for a disaster?