In honor of National Preparedness Month, we’ve put together a list of safety suggestions designed to assist you in making your own preparations.* From equipping your home for disaster to stocking a kit of survival supplies and putting together a clearly defined plan for your family and pets, these suggestions will help you be ready to respond in the event of an emergency.
*Please note: The below list is not intended to be comprehensive. You should always consider your own personal circumstances and seek out guidance and information from federal, state and local agencies as well as the first responders in your area.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and regularly test them. To ensure adequate coverage, install alarms in every bedroom, outside sleeping areas and on every level of the home, including the basement. Consider using long-life batteries or hardwiring alarms.
- Mount fire extinguishers high on the wall in the kitchen, laundry, workshop, garage and on every level near a door. Do not store the extinguisher in a cabinet or other area where it could get pushed to the side or hidden.
- Purchase a fire escape ladder for every second- and third-story bedroom.
- Keep combustible material, including yard waste and vegetation, at least 30 feet away from your home. Remove debris from rain gutters.
- Plant trees a distance greater than the expected full height of the tree away from your home.
- For households with pets, place a Pet Rescue Sticker near the entrance to your home to inform emergency workers of the number and type of pets that reside in your home. If you are forced to evacuate your home with your pets, mark the pets as having been evacuated on the sticker so that emergency workers do not waste time searching for them.
- Secure large appliances and tall furniture to prevent them from tipping over.
- At least three days’ worth of water and non-perishable food rations and a can opener (A general rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day.)
- At least three days’ worth of medications and daily medical supplies
- First aid kit, rubber gloves, baby wipes, and hand sanitizer
- Basic tool kit, multi-purpose tool, flashlights with extra batteries, a hand-crank, solar- or battery-powered radio, cell phones and chargers
- Garbage bags, plastic sheeting, a dust mask, lighter, duct tape and candles
- Extra sets of keys, whistle, area maps and cash
- Identification and other important documents like insurance cards, immunization records and medical records of any serious or ongoing medical condition kept in a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box
- At least three days’ worth of food and water, a can opener and feeding dishes
- Litter trays and litter
- Leashes, collars, harnesses and/or carriers to safely transport pets
- Medical records and at least three days’ worth of medications
- Pet bed and toys
- Information specific to your pet, including feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior and contact information for your veterinarian in case you must leave your pet in someone else’s care (Current photos of your pets are also helpful in the event your pet gets lost.)
- Create an emergency plan and communicate that plan with your household. The plan should include details like possible evacuation routes, emergency contacts and communication protocols, and predetermined meeting locations. Be sure to designate more than one meeting location and at varying distances from your home in case primary meeting locations are affected by a disaster.
- Pet owners should also have a plan on how to handle the evacuation of a pet, including friends or family members that could potentially care for your pet and pet-friendly hotels on your evacuation routes.
- Make sure that your homeowner’s insurance covers damages from the types of disasters that could potentially occur in your area and purchase supplemental insurance if it does not.
- Hold emergency drills in your home and workplace.
- Consider becoming certified in CPR and first aid.
- Learn the location of your utilities and how to shut them off.
For additional safety and disaster preparedness suggestions and tips, consult the following sites: