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Preparing for an Emergency  

What are likely emergencies or disasters where you live? Work out your family’s needs and how you can survive in an emergency situation. Consider the additional needs of people with disabilities and the elderly in your planning.

  • Develop and practice a communications plan
  • Would you know what to do should phone lines shut down?
  • Do you have the emergency number in your mobile?
  • Do you have a smart phone or laptop that allows you to access the internet?
  • Develop and practice an evacuation plan should you need to leave home

Prepare an emergency kit
An emergency kit is a simple way you can prepare for times when the power goes out.
The following items are useful when the power goes out:

  • Flashlights and fresh batteries
  • A battery-powered radio
  • A battery-powered or wind-up alarm clock
  • Bottled water
  • Blankets, bedding or sleeping bags
  • A first aid kit
  • Special items for infants, seniors or family members with special needs
  • Phone list with emergency contacts such as key family members, police, hospitals

Protect your food

  • Plan ahead how you can keep foods cold. Buy some freeze-pak inserts and keep them frozen. Buy a cooler. Freeze water in plastic jugs or containers or store bags of ice
  • Know where you can buy block ice
  • Develop emergency freezer-sharing plans with friends in another part of town or in a nearby area
  • Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed - open them only when absolutely necessary. Food will stay frozen for 36-48 hours in a fully loaded freezer if you keep the door closed
  • A half-full freezer will generally keep food frozen for 24 hours. If you have time in advance of the storm, fill up your freezer by filling plastic bottles with water and freezing them

Protect electronic equipment

  • Purchase electronic equipment with built-in protection or a battery-powered back-up system
  • Use electrical surge suppressors or arresters on all sensitive electronic equipment. Most are designed to be plugged into a wall outlet
  • Plug computers and other sensitive electronic equipment into a separate, grounded circuit to isolate them from fluctuations caused when a major appliance starts, such as a room air conditioner or refrigerator
  • Consider an uninterruptible power supply for temporary battery back-up power for sensitive electronic equipment
  • Makes sure all important data is backed up regularly

Protect your home and belongings
Turn off all major appliances, but leave a light on. That way, you can avoid a circuit overload and another outage that may result when power is restored to all appliances at once.