Disasters and emergencies can sometimes develop
quickly. Dam failures, flash floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes, for
example, can strike with little or no advance warning.
Other types of disasters and emergencies are
preceded by a build-up period that provides more time for taking
effective protective measures. For example, winter storms can be tracked
for days, and people in affected areas can be notified well in advance.
Severe thunderstorms may be tracked for hours. On larger rivers, floods
can be predicted to provide considerable warning time for people in the
danger area. Even in cases of tornadoes, the forecast of weather
conditions may permit some warning of possible disaster.
Some of these disasters or emergencies are more
likely to occur in certain parts of the country. For example, hurricanes
are more common along the Gulf and Atlantic Coast States, and tornadoes
are more frequent in Midwestern and southern states. Yet, no area is
entirely free from possible disasters of one type or another.
This section is intended to help you prepare for
those disasters that may occur in this area and to tell you the proper
actions to take if they do occur.
There are certain things you can do that will help
you prepare for and cope with almost any type of emergency.
The most basic thing to remember is to KEEP
CALM. This may mean the difference between life and death. In many
disasters, people have been killed or injured needlessly because they
took thoughtless actions.
In time of emergency, taking proper action may save
your life. TAKE TIME TO THINK, and then take the considered
action that the situation calls for. Usually, this will be the action
you have planned in advance, or the action you are instructed to take by
What to do When There is an Emergency Alert
If you hear an emergency notification message,
listen to the radio for further emergency information and follow the
official instructions being broadcast.
If You Have to Evacuate
Listen to a battery-powered radio for further
information and location of emergency shelters. Wear protective clothing
and sturdy shoes. Take your disaster supplies kit. Lock your home. Use
travel routes specified by local officials. If you are sure you have
time... shut off water, gas and electricity, if instructed to do so.
Let others know when you left and where you are going. Make arrangements
for pets. Animals may not be allowed in public shelters.
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Use Extreme Caution in Entering or Working in
Buildings that may have been damaged or weakened by the disaster, as
they may collapse without warning. Also, there may be gas leaks or
electrical short circuits.
Don't Take Lanterns, Torches, or Lighted
Cigarettes into buildings that have been flooded or otherwise
damaged, since there may be leaking gas lines or flammable material
Stay Away From Fallen or Damaged Electrical
Wires which may still be dangerous. (Consider ALL wires to be
dangerous, including telephone wires.)
Check For Leaking Gas Pipelines in Your Home.
Do this by smell only -don't use matches or candles. If you smell gas,
(1) Leave the house immediately and leave the front door open, (2)
Notify the gas company or call 911 from another building, (3) DO NOT
re-enter the house until you are told it is safe to do so.
If Any of Your Electrical Appliances Are Wet
first turn off the main power switch. (Caution: Don't do any of these
things while you are wet or standing in water.) If fuses blow when the
electric power is restored, turn off the main power switch again and
then inspect for short circuits in your home wiring, appliances, and
Check Your Food And Water Supplies Before Use.
Foods that require refrigeration may be spoiled if electric power has
been off for some time. Also, don't eat food that has come in contact
with flood waters. Be sure to follow the instructions of local
authorities concerning use of food and water supplies.
Stay Away from Disaster Areas. Sight-seeing
will interfere with first aid or rescue work and may be dangerous.
Don't Drive Unless Necessary and drive with
caution. Watch for hazards to yourself and others and report them to
Notify Your Relatives after the emergency so
they will know you are safe. However, keep calls brief so as not to tie
up the lines.
Do Not Pass on Rumors or exaggerated report
Follow the Advice and Instructions of Local
Government on ways to help yourself and your community recover from