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By Max Cannon ’22, emergency planning and management major

September is National Preparedness Month, and it’s a good idea to plan for emergencies such as thunderstorms, floods, heatwaves, power outages, hurricanes, wildfires and other scenarios. Active self-mitigation, or reducing hazards for your household and property, can help protect you, your family and your home. Self-mitigation includes assessing your situation, planning for multiple disaster types, reducing risk and updating your efforts when necessary.

1. KNOW YOUR HOUSEHOLD

  • Tailor your plan to the unique aspects of your home and its occupants.
  • Involve everyone in developing the household plan and assign appropriate emergency roles.
  • Make sure to meet any special needs of people with disabilities.

2. ESTABLISH YOUR PLAN

  • Map out various evacuation routes: try to avoid low-lying areas in a flood, open fields in a tornado, wooded areas in a wildfire, and ensure that you are not exposed to trees, metal objects or other likely lightning targets in a thunderstorm.
  • Plan for multiple evacuation destinations to suit different routes.
  • Prepare your home to shelter in place.
  • Ensure means for communication and maintain a contact list of close friends, family, neighbors and local government officials.
  • Sign up for county or local emergency alerts, and save government hotline numbers and official social media accounts for information and updates.
  • Maintain flexibility so that your plan fits a broad spectrum of event types.

3. STOCK SUPPLIES

  • Toolkits with practical hand tools
  • Phone chargers
  • Non-perishable food and water jugs
  • Small gas cooktop with spare fuel
  • Batteries and/or generator
  • Spare medications, EpiPens
  • Diapers and children’s items
  • First-aid kit
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes
  • Pet food and crate
  • Flashlight or lantern
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Cash
  • Sunscreen and bug repellent
  • Maps and compass

4. IMPORTANT VALUABLES TO STORE SAFELY

  • Social Security cards
  • Birth certificates
  • Diplomas
  • Bank statements
  • IDs
  • Computer hard drive or back-up

5. MAINTAIN YOUR PLAN

  • Ask your household to practice fulfilling their emergency roles and operating the plan.
  • Evaluate and update your plan on a routine basis.