Being prepared for disasters and emergencies can help keep you and your family safe.
National Preparedness Month reminds us to be prepared for disasters or emergencies. The best way to do this is before a disaster or emergency hits. Here are a few tips on how you can prepare now to keep your family safe.
- Know about the different weather-related emergencies that may affect where you live, such as hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes or floods.
- Create a family emergency plan that’s appropriate for weather-related or man-made disasters or emergencies where you live. Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and how you will work together. Include what to do in case you are separated during an emergency, what to do if you have to evacuate, and how to let loved ones now you’re safe. Identify the location of emergency shelters. Rehearse as many elements of your plan as possible. Click to see the American Red Cross emergency plan template.
- Know what to do in case of a power outage. Portable generators are helpful, but the exhaust is toxic and can sicken or kill you. Always put a generator outside away from doors, windows and vents. Never use it inside a home, basement, garage, crawlspace, tent, shed or other enclosed area.
- For your safety, do not try to heat your home by using appliances such as gas stoves or ovens, barbecue grills or dryers. Never operate any gas-burning heater or other appliance in a poorly vented or closed room, or where you are sleeping.
- Do not cook indoors on barbecue grills, camp stoves or any other non-vented appliance.
- Use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns for lighting. If you use candles, make sure the area is ventilated and never leave them unattended because they can easily become a fire hazard.
- Have a battery-powered radio on hand, with extra batteries, so you can listen to local and state announcements and alerts.
- Know how to turn off the water and gas in your home, if necessary.
- Take time to learn basic lifesaving skills, such as CPR and first aid. Check your insurance policies and coverages for the hazards you could face where you live. Consider the costs associated with disasters, and save for an emergency.
Click to see more information from the EPA on how to prepare for disasters or emergencies for your family, as well as communities, schools and businesses.
epa.gov, “Emergencies and IAQ.” epa.gov, Environmental Protection Agency, 8 August 2018.
epa.gov, “September is Preparedness Month.” epa.gov, Environmental Protection Agency, 2018.
Ready.gov, “National Preparedness Month.” Ready.gov, Department of Homeland Security, 2018.
RedCross.org, “Disaster Preparedness Plan – Make a Plan.” RedCross.org, The American National Red Cross, 2018.