Would you know what to do in an emergency?
Your city/town is committed to educating the public about natural or man made emergencies. Individuals and families must know how to prepare in the event of an emergency. The coalition has pulled together this guide to help our residents learn the steps to take to prepare for an emergency.
- An emergency is defined as a serious situation that arises quickly and threatens the life or welfare of a person or a group of people. It can be a health crisis, a terrorist threat, a natural disaster, a chemical spill or a house fire.
- Emergency preparedness allows individuals with different abilities and needs to maintain independence in the event of a natural or manmade emergency.
Be Informed, Make a Plan, and Build a Kit.
With guidance from federal and state agencies, Local Emergency Planning Committees, Health Departments, Police Departments, and other organizations maintain drill and exercise plans, and work to update gaps in plans in order to prepare for, respond to, and recover from an emergency.
Staying informed and updated on hazards that could impact our communities is important in being prepared. Massachusetts is susceptible to many natural disasters including floods, hurricanes and tropical storms, severe winter weather and much more. There is also the risk of man-made disasters including hazardous materials incidents, nuclear power plant incidents, power outages, transportation accidents, water supply problems and terrorism.
Being aware of the types of emergencies that can occur is critical. Learn about the risk and prepare now by staying informed before and/or during the emergency.
It is important to proactively subscribe to several information sources including local, state and national sources. During emergencies you may need many different sources as some may be compromised due to the nature of the event.
Here are some of the primary ways to get information during ab emergency:
- Connect CTY (reverse 911), Code Red or other notification system serving your city/town
- City/Town Twitter accounts
- Police Department websites
- 2-1-1 is the Commonwealth’s primary telephone call center during times of an emergency and is able to provide information on emergency resources and is free and available 24 hours a day, confidential, multilingual, and TTY compatible. mass211.org
- Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Twitter
- Massachusetts Alert Mobile App
- The Emergency Alert system via television and radio
- Outdoor electronic billboards
- Outdoor bullhorns
Make a Plan
When an emergency strikes, there is often very little time to prepare to leave your home. By having a plan ready you will be able to focus on the top priority: getting your family to safety.
We do not know when the next emergency or disaster will occur or what it will be, so take some time to make a plan of what you and your family will do during emergencies. Your family may not all be together when an emergency occurs, so you should create a Family Communications Plan which will ensure that you can get to a safe location (family meeting place if outside of the house), contact one another, and reunite. http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/FamEmePlan_2013.pdf
Making a plan can sound challenging and formal, it is simple and doesn’t even need to be written down. The important thing is that all family members know what to do in different types of emergencies.
Build a Kit
Every family, home, individual and business should build a basic emergency supply kit that could be used for any emergency. There should be certain items around the house and workplace in the event you are isolated for three to five days without power or the ability to get to a store. There are basic items such as, water, food, flashlights, radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit, sanitation items and clothing, but it is important to customize the kit for the needs of you and your family. Consider adding medications, extra eyeglasses, contact lenses, dentures, extra batteries for hearing aids, wheelchairs, or other medical equipment, oxygen tanks, children’s items, food & supplies for pets and service animals and any other items your family might need. A list of allergies, medications and dosages, medical insurance information, medical records and serial numbers of medical devices will provide additional information during an emergency.
You may also consider making a mobile “go-bag” version of your emergency kit in case you need to evacuate to a shelter or other location, as an emergency shelter may not have all the items you need. At least annually, check your kit for any food, water, batteries, or other items that may need to be replaced or have expired.
Here are some items that should be included in your Emergency Supply Kit:
- Three day supply of water per person (one gallon per person per day)
- One complete change of clothing per person
- Battery operated flashlight and radio with new batteries
- Emergency preparedness manual with contact phone numbers
- First aid kit
- Week’s supply of non-perishable food
- Non-electric can opener, utility knife
- Cash or traveler’s checks, change
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
- Soap, liquid detergent
- Toilet paper
- Personal hygiene items and feminine supplies
- Prescription and non-prescription drugs such as aspirin, anti-diarrhea medication and antacid
- Consider unique family needs as well
Check your supplies every six months- good rule of thumb, when you change your clocks, change your emergency supplies.