As September is National Preparedness Month, I would like to share some simple home organizing tips for getting your NYC home ready for an emergency. The recent earthquake in the Northeast coupled with the beginning of hurricane season (Hurricane Irene is targeting the northeast coast as I write this) serve as good reminders of the importance of being prepared.
Preparedness Month was started in 2004, is sponsored by FEMA and encourages Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities.
FEMA created the Ready Campaign with the objective of educating and empowering Americans to be able to respond to all types of emergencies from natural disasters to potential terrorist attacks. By creating an Emergency Supply Kit and a Communication Plan, your family will be well prepared to handle an emergency.
Assemble An Emergency Supply Kit
Plan on having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for a minimum of three days. Be prepared to function without basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and phone service for a few days or possibly longer.
Here’s a list of the essential items that should be included:
-1 gallon of water per person for drinking and sanitation for at least 3 days.
-A 3-day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener.
-A battery powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert plus extra batteries.
-Flashlight with extra batteries.
-First Aid kit.
-Whistle to signal for help.
-A dust mask to help filter contaminated air.
-Moist towelettes and garbage bags.
The following additional items should be added as appropriate: food and water for your pet, diapers and formula for infants, cash, copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a small waterproof container, matches in a waterproof container, and personal hygiene items.
Family Emergency Plan
As all family members may not be together at the time of an emergency, it is imperative that you have a plan in place for contacting each other and so you can reunite.
-Select an out of town family member or friend as your point of contact as long distance calls may be easier to make. Have that individual relay information among separated family members.
-Make sure to inform your out of town contact that you have chosen him/her as an emergency contact. Program this person’s phone number into your cell phone as “ICE” (in case of emergency).
-Also, include a local ICE contact in your phone and identifying them as such (For example, ICE-husband).
-Advise family members to resort to sending text messages in lieu of attempting phone calls as there is a higher probability that they will get through.
Subscribe to your local community’s alert services. Sign up by visiting your local Office of Emergency Management website.
The Ready Campaign has created an online family emergency planning tool to assist you in creating your own plan. In addition, it includes an application that will enable you to create a family contact list and designate a meeting place in case of an emergency.