In the event of a natural disaster, having a preparedness plan can be a critical element in helping secure a safe transition out of danger for you, your loved ones and your property. Preparation is key, but it is also important to stay calm and focused during an emergency. If you are ordered to evacuate, do so. If you are not evacuating, use your time wisely to make preparations.
- Communicate where you will be. Contact someone outside the affected area to tell them where you will be for the duration of the event. Business owners should remind employees of their roles in helping to get the business back up and running, and how they will be notified when the facility is open again.
- Know the warning signs and alert signals for your area. Stay tuned to your local television or radio station or community alert system for emergency information.
- Check your emergency survival kit. Make sure your emergency survival kit is stocked with essential items and kept in an easily accessible location.
- Collect emergency building materials. Depending on the type of disaster, you may want to have emergency materials on hand, such as plywood, sandbags and waterproof tarps.
- Fuel up your vehicles and equipment. If you have an emergency generator, make sure you have fresh fuel on hand. Depending on your situation, you may need a supply of extra fuel. If so, be sure to store the spare fuel in an approved container in a safe location. Never use a generator inside or even in a garage. Make sure it is located a safe distance from windows, doors and vents.
- Be sure you have car chargers for your cell phone, smart phone and other portable devices. Having car chargers available can assist you in staying in communication with others if your electricity goes out. Do not forget to fully charge devices before a storm.
- Secure all outdoor objects or move them inside. Grills, patio furniture and flowerpots are common household items that can become airborne in high winds. Do not use grills inside or store propane tanks inside the house or garage. Business owners should also remember to secure outdoor signage, benches and equipment to help minimize potential damage.
- Know how to shut off all utilities. It is always a good idea to know how to turn off the gas, electricity and water in your home or place of business. If you need to evacuate suddenly, it may be prudent to turn off utilities before leaving. Before doing so, consider equipment that can help minimize damage and should therefore not have utilities interrupted, such as electricity to sump pumps or fire protection equipment.