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
- Sunscreen and bug repellent
- Maps and compass
4. IMPORTANT VALUABLES TO STORE SAFELY
- Social Security cards
- Birth certificates
- Bank statements
- 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.