Family Hurricane Preparedness Tips
As we enter the 2011 Hurricane Season, which experts are predicting to be very active, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is offering personal preparedness tips for the all of the citizens of the Commonwealth.
“Every home and business should have a stocked basic emergency supply kit that could be used for any emergency, regardless of the time of year,” states MEMA Acting Director Kurt Schwartz. “Everyone should keep certain items around the house and workplace in the event you are isolated for three to five days without power”
Each kit will be unique to each family, but should include a portable radio, flashlight, extra batteries, a supply of non-perishable foods, along with bottled water, a first aid kit, extra prescription medication, and extra food and supplies for infants and pets.
“All families should develop a ‘Family Emergency Communication Plan’ to help ensure everyone is safe. You should contact your local authorities to learn about your community’s potential evacuation routes and the location of emergency shelters,” said Schwartz. “It is important to familiarize yourself with your Community’s Emergency Plans before an emergency situation occurs.”
Develop a Disaster Supply Kit ‘Go Bag’, with essentials in case you must evacuate quickly.
1. HURRICANE DISASTER SUPPLY KIT
Canned goods and nonperishable foods that do not need cooking: Canned meats and fish
Canned fruits and vegetables
Canned soups and puddings
Canned fruit juices
Dried fruit and nuts
Bread, cookies and crackers
Peanut butter and jelly
Coffee and tea
Manual can opener
Bottled water (1 gallon per person/per day)
Prescription medication (2 week supply)
Water purification tablets (halazone)
Disposable plates, cups, and utensils
Infant care items: Disposable diapers
First aid supplies
Masking and duct tape
Flashlight or lantern, with extra batteries
Battery operated radio, with extra batteries
Watch or battery operated clock
Canned heat (sterno)
Portable outdoor camping stove or grill with fuel supply
A certain amount of cash
Important documents (Such as wills, deeds, prescriptions, passports, birth certificates, health record, proof of address, Social Security number)
Plastic trash bags
Plastic sheeting or tarp
Personal hygiene items
Other useful items: Work gloves
Ax or chainsaw
Nails and screws
Rope and wire
Broom, mop and bucket
Shovel, rake and wheelbarrow
Sheets of plywood
2. FAMILY EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS PLAN
Develop a Family Emergency Communications Plan in case family members are separated from one another during an emergency (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school, camp or at a friend’s house). This plan should also address reunification after the immediate crisis passes.
Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the Family Emergency Communications Plan contact person. During and immediately after a disaster occurs, it is often easier to access a long distance telephone number than a local one. Also, calling outside a disaster area is usually easier than calling into the same area.
Make sure everyone knows the name, address and telephone number of the Family Emergency Communications Plan contact person.
Designate two meeting areas for family members – one within your community (your primary location), and one outside of your community (your alternate location). Sometimes an emergency could impact your neighborhood or small section of the community, so a second location outside of your community would be more accessible to all family members.
A Family Emergency Communications Plan can help reassure everyone’s safety and minimize the stress associated with emergencies
3. STAY INFORMED
Educate yourself and family about emergency plans for your community, place of business, your child’s school and camp. Know what potential risks your community and neighborhood are susceptible to in a hurricane, such as storm surge, flooding, etc. Carefully monitor the Media and follow instructions from Public Safety officials as hurricane approaches.