Richard H. Fiske, III
In the world of emergency preparedness, it is a matter of "when" and not "if." Because of this, it is important to plan for emergencies as best you can. Basic emergency preparedness can make all the difference in the event of an emergency. Please refer to our Home Hazards Inspection Checklist (109KB).
Make a Plan
The first step in emergency preparedness and emergency planning is the most critical. Have a plan based on your family, home and community. Designate emergency meeting places, a Family Disaster Plan, a Family Communications Plan (64KB) and create an Emergency Supply Kit that contain supplies to be used in the event of an emergency. By having a plan, you have already taken some important steps in staying safe and have started making your recovery an easier process.
Be Informed; Know Where You Live
You should be cognizant of what Hazards may affect your area and how you can better prepare yourself for them. Testing of emergency equipment, updating emergency contacts and routine practice of your evacuation routes from your home and neighborhood should be conducted regularly.
Plan an Evacuation Route
Plan your evacuation route well in advance. This plan should include information on the safest evacuation routes and you should also be ready to travel back-roads to avoid highway congestion. Be aware of where you live, what structures or companies are around you and whether it is likely you may need to evacuate. Ensure that family members know who your emergency contact person is and where your designated meeting places are. For more information and ideas on how to create an evacuation plan, please refer to these Evacuation Guidelines. If so, figure out in advance where you will go; either to a shelter, the home of a friend or relative or perhaps a hotel.
Prepare Your Emergency Supply Kit
One of the most important tools for emergency preparedness is your Emergency Supply Kit. You'll need provisions to carry you through a week or more after the storm. Remember, there may be no electricity or clean water for days. Downed trees and other debris blocking the roads may keep you from traveling far. Stock up today; store them in a water-resistant container and replenish as necessary. The City of Worcester Division of Emergency Management recommends that you check the inventory of your Emergency Supply Kit every time you change the clocks for daylight savings time.
Develop an Emergency Communications Plan
Emergencies do not issue a warning before happening. If emergencies occur when you are not with your loved ones, you need to create a plan to ensure to remain in contact with them. Considerations should be made when creating a Family Communications Plan to account for both local and distant emergency contacts. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." It is important to make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address and phone number of the contact person.
Protect Your Property
Trim back dead or weak branches from trees, fix structural deficiencies and other Mitigation techniques.
Check your home insurance policy to make sure coverage is adequate.
Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water. Teach children how and when to call 911, Police or Fire Department and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
Protect Your Pets
Pet owners are responsible for disaster planning for their pet. Create a Pet Emergency Supply Kit to take with you if you need to evacuate to another location. The American Red Cross shelters cannot accept animals other than service animals, so if you plan to go to public shelter, make other provisions for your pet. Below are some of the considerations you may want to make when creating your Pet Emergency Supply Kit.
Pet Emergency Supply Kit