FEMA recognizes September as National Preparedness Month (#NatlPrep) and since there are numerous tropical storms and hurricanes stirring in the tropics this week, I thought I would share some basic preparedness tips.
First, it is important that every family member knows where to go and who to contact if an emergency arises. Have an evacuation plan in place where the family meets or goes in case of a house fire and you need to get out of your home quickly. Know where the safest room of your house is and practice getting all family members situated in the room to prepare in case of a tornado. Make sure everyone knows how to get in touch with one another in case an emergency happens while they are away from home.
Next, it is important to know how to get in touch with everyone. As we saw with the power outages this past winter, phone lines are susceptible to coming down during major storms which leaves cell phones as the way to speak with others. However, the cell lines/towers can overload with high usage that usually follows a storm, so FEMA recommends you text don’t talk unless you are in danger. Data lines usually do not go down during disasters so texts have an easier time going through. Also, it frees up phone lines for emergency personnel. Texting and social media are great ways to let friends and family know you are okay when you are away from home or live in a different area. Also, it is a good idea to resist streaming, downloading music and playing games on your phone immediately after a disaster; it will help keep down network congestion.
Finally, make sure you have all contact information stored in your phones. Have and ICE (in case of emergency) number stored so emergency crews know who to call if you are injured. Be sure to have your insurance agents cell number stored along with your insurance policy numbers just in case you have storm damage to your home, you will be able to file a claim quickly. Parents, be sure to have the numbers and addresses of your child’s school, after school job, and after school activities–the more information you can provide an emergency responder of his/her location will help locating them after a disaster. If you have a landline at home, be sure to have a non-cordless phone available so you can use if the power goes out but phone service remains. Finally, have copies of your insurance policies, health insurance card, drivers license and birth certificates in a folder you can easily access in case of an emergency.
Don’t forget your emergency supply kit with water and food as well. We all need to take action to prepare now and all year long for all types of emergencies.