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Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. That's why the American Red Cross recommends creating an emergency plan, so your family will know what to do in the event of a disaster.
4 Steps to Safety:
1. Find Out What Could Happen to You: Contact your local emergency management or American Red Cross Chapter to ask what types of disasters are most likely to happen. Learn about your community’s warning signals. Ask about animal care after a disaster. Find out how to help elderly or disabled persons. Find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children’s school or daycare center and other places where your family spends time.
2. Create a Disaster Plan: Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for the disaster. Discuss the types of disasters most likely to happen. Pick two places to meet. Ask an out-of-state friend to be your family contact. Discuss what to do in an evacuation.
3. Complete a Checklist: Post emergency telephone numbers. Teach children how to call 911. Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches. Check if you have adequate insurance coverage. Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher and show them where it’s kept. Install smoke detectors on each level of your home. Conduct a home hazard hunt locating ordinary objects that can cause injury or damage. Take a first aid and CPR class. Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster. Stock emergency supplies and assemble a disaster supply kit.
4. Practice and Maintain Your Plan: Quiz your kids every six months, so they remember what to do. Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills. Replace stored water every three months and stored food every six months. Test and recharge your fire extinguishers. Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
If Disaster Strikes:
For more information, call the City of Carbondale's Office of Emergency Services Department at (618) 457-3245, visit www.redcross.org or www.fema.gov.