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How to Prepare for an Emergency
Improving our national preparedness is not just a job for the professionals - law enforcement, firefighters and others. All Americans should begin a process of learning about potential threats so we are better prepared to react during an attack.
While there is no way to predict what will happen, or what your personal circumstances will be, there are simple things you can do now to prepare yourself and your loved ones. Three key steps that individuals and families should take to be properly prepared for unexpected emergencies:
1) Assemble an Emergency Kit
All of us should be able to survive comfortably on our own for at least a three-day period. That's the amount of time you may need to remain in your home until the danger from a biological, chemical or radio-logical attack has passed. You'll need:
- A change of clothes
- Sleeping bags
- Food and water
- A gallon of water per person per day should be enough.
- Canned and dried foods are easy to store and prepare.
Our advice is to start now by gathering basic emergency supplies - a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, prescription medicines and toilet articles. Duct tape and heavy-duty plastic garbage bags can be used to seal windows and doors. Make sure all household members know where the kit is kept. You should also consider bringing a disaster supply kit to work or leaving one in your car.
2) Make a Family Communication Plan
Your family may not be together at home when an attack occurs. Make sure everyone knows contact numbers and how to get in touch.
It may be wise to have everyone call an out-of-state friend or relative. Keep a list of emergency numbers near the phone.
Select a "safe-room" where everyone can gather. The best choice is an interior room above ground with few windows and doors.
3) Learn More About Readiness
Planning helps; if your family knows what to expect, they will be calmer in the aftermath of a terrorist event. For example, you should find out where to turn for instructions, such as local broadcasting networks. Local authorities will broadcast information as quickly as possible concerning the nature of the emergency and what you should do next. Be sure to keep listening for updates.
There are other ways to plan ahead. Take a first aid and CPR class so that you can provide emergency medical help. Review your insurance policies to reduce the economic impact of a potential disaster. Remember to make accommodations for elderly family members and neighbors or those with special needs. Finally, try to make arrangements for pets not allowed in public shelters.