Plan Ahead For Disasters
Natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes are rare in the Valley. Whereas people in California prepare for earthquakes and Kansans prepare for tornadoes, people in the greater Phoenix metro area often become complacent because of the lack of experience with large-scale disasters.
The truth is, a natural or man-made disaster can occur anywhere. Areas in the Valley are prone to flash flooding, severe storms, power outages as well as man-made emergencies like a chemical leak or waterline break.
What would you do if you could not get to your home, or leave your home? What would you do without power for 72 hours, or no open lines of communication? Would your children know what to do if they could not get ahold of you? What would you do if you called 911 and no one could get to you right away? We have seen these scenarios play out around the country with recent massive hurricanes.
These are not questions you want to ask during an emergency. Getting prepared before a crisis may mean the difference between life and death. Here are some simple tips to make sure you and your family are prepared for an emergency.
Make a 72-Hour Kit
A 72 hour kit can make all of the difference in an emergency.
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
- Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
- Prescription medications
- Glasses and contact lens solution
- Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
Make a Plan
Start planning now, before an emergency. First, how will you find out about an emergency in your area? Your local police and fire department have many options for alerting the public. If you have smart phone, use a service such as Nixle to follow emergency alerts. Follow your police and fire department on Twitter other social media outlets. Stay tuned to local news during an emergency. Consider having a battery-powered radio on hand in case of a power outage.
During an emergency, local phone connections may be jammed. Choose an out of state contact person who can act as a central point of contact for your family.
Choose a family meeting place. In case you and your family become separated and cannot communicate, designate a place where you can all gather.
Store at least one emergency contact under the name “In Case of Emergency” or “ICE” for all mobile phones and devices. This will help someone identify your emergency contact if needed. Inform your emergency contact of any medical issues or other requirements you may have.
Keep a list of important phone numbers handy. Include your doctor, schools, pharmacy and utilities. Also, write down important information like insurance policy numbers and contact information.
For more information on planning including plan templates, please visit www.ready.gov, a national public service campaign to educate the American people about disaster preparedness.