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(includes fire safety)
Families and Disasters
Ways to Store Important Documents
Communication, Social Media, Technology and Apps
Winter Weather and Health Concerns
Alternative Heat Sources
Autism/Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
Hearing Impaired/Visually Impaired
Intellectual Disabilities or Mental Illness
Spanish Language Resources
Resources for Parents and Schools
Resources for Coping with Tragic School Events
Resources for Creating School Emergency Plans
Health and Environmental Concerns
Drinking Water and Health Concerns
Nuclear Power Concerns
Global HazMat Concerns
DMRC Training Resources
Del Tech Nurses
Staying Healthy During Disasters
Long Term Care: Planning and Exercise Tools
This purpose of this web site is to share information about emergency/disaster preparedness and what you and your family can do to prepare.
The home page is devoted to recent events or preparedness ideas. For specific types of disasters or preparedness topics, click on the links on the left hand sidebar.
Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Traumatic Event: What to Expect in Your Personal, Family, Work, and Financial Life
Older Adults: Include Connectedness in your Hurricane Plan
Older adults who are connected to their friends, family and community are less likely to become depressed and more likely to stay healthy during and after a disaster. Take a few minutes to learn how connectedness makes older adults feel happier and more satisfied everyday AND helps them bounce back from a disaster.
Bouncing back after a storm isn’t just a matter of rebuilding your home, cleaning up or treating injuries. Preparing to take care of your behavioral health needs is an important part of being ready for a storm, especially for older adults.
Protecting Your Food During an Outage
If your power goes out, knowing what to do with the food in your refrigerator and freezer can help you to stay healthy.
The Food and Drug Administration
recommends you take three steps to
keep your food safe during a power outage:
Make sure you have appliance thermometers in the refrigerator and freezer;
Know where you can get dry ice or block ice; and
Keep a few days worth of ready-to-eat foods that don't require cooking or cooling, such as canned goods.
If you do experience a power outage,
the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests
that you keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed. In addition, consider:
Transferring your food to a cooler and fill it with ice or frozen gel packs if your power is off longer than four hours;
Keeping your freezer fully stocked, as a packed freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full); and
Placing food in the back of the freezer. Food items in the front, in the door, or in small packaging will defrost faster.
Refer to the USDA’s
Refrigerated Food and Power Outages: When to Save and When to Throw Out
for food safety during a power outage, including what items you may need to throw away because of a prolonged outage.
Preparing for a Tornado
To ensure that you’re able to act quickly and get the best available protection during a tornado, you need to plan ahead. Advanced planning and practicing specifically how and where you will take cover for protection may save your life.
Your primary goal is to go to the safest place for protection before the tornado approaches and take additional measures for personal cover. If a tornado warning is issued, immediately move to the best available protection.
Having advance notice that a tornado is approaching your area can give you the critical time needed to move to a place with better protection. The best protection in all tornadoes is to seek shelter in a structure built to
FEMA safe room or International Code 500 storm shelter standards
If you’re unable to get to a safe room during a tornado, move to an interior windowless room on the lowest level of a building, preferably the basement. Take personal cover under sturdy furniture such as a table. Cover your head and neck with your arms and place a blanket or coat over your body.
America’s PrepareAthon! How to Prepare for a Tornado guide
provides preparedness tips if you live, work, or travel through an area that is susceptible to tornadoes:
Know how to stay informed, including monitoring weather reports provided by your local media;
Consider buying a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio All Hazards receiver
, which receives broadcast alerts directly from the National Weather Service and offers warnings, watches, forecasts, and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week;
Download the FEMA mobile applicatio
n for disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips;
Know where you would go to have the best level of protection from a tornado for every place you spend a lot of time, such as home, work, school, or place of worship;
Practice how you will communicate with your family members in case you're not together during a tornado; complete the
Family Emergency Communication Plan
Store at least a 3-day supply of food, water, medications, and items you may need after the tornado passes; and
Store the important documents on a USB flash drive or in a waterproof container that you will need to start your recovery.
Some locations don't provide protection from tornadoes, including: manufactured (mobile) homes/offices, the open space of open-plan buildings (e.g., malls, big retail stores, and gymnasiums), vehicles, and the outdoors. An alternative shelter should be identified prior to a tornado watch or warning.
You can find additional resources online, including a
that provides guidance on what steps to take before and after a tornado.
Preparedness Tip: Know your Hazards
Make preparing for disasters and emergencies a little more manageable by learning about the hazards that are common in your area. You don't need to prepare for every kind of emergency - start by focusing on the ones that are most likely to happen where you live. And remember, there are lots of things that you can do to prepare that help in almost any disaster - like having a family communication plan and being ready to listen to local officials.
Learn more >>
Resilience Can Start with Saying Hello
When you think about being prepared for an emergency, you might consider important things like assembling a disaster kit, making sure your home can weather a storm and having enough food, water, and medicine on hand for at least three days. But did you also know that simple things like knowing your neighbors can help you get through an emergency or disaster?
There are a wide range of things you can do to withstand, adapt to, and recover from adversity – things that you can do to make yourself more resilient in the face of a disaster.
Learn To Manage Emotional Distress
Television or Internet coverage of upsetting events like natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or mass shootings can affect our sense of order and safety. It may even impact those with no personal connection to the situation.
If you have kids, learning how to put
the news in proper context
and addressing their concerns can help them understand the situation and reduce distress.
Find out who is
most at risk of emotional distress
from incidents of mass violence and where to find help. If you are in emotional distress caused by recent events or know someone who is, seek help by calling the
Disaster Distress Hotline
at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
Red Cross App Uses Gaming to Teach Children about Disasters
A newly released version of the American Red Cross Monster Guard App: Prepare for Emergencies can help save lives through gaming. Children between the ages of 7 and 11 role play as different monster characters and earn points while learning how to be safe in home fires, hurricanes, floods, and other disasters.
Available for tablets and other mobile devices, the new version of the app runs on iOS 7 and above. The previous version runs on Android OS 4x and up. Download the app at
Fire Prevention Preparedness Tips
Smoke Alarms...here's what you need to know!
Smoke Alarm in your homes:
Put smoke alarms on every floor of your home. Also, in every bedroom and in the hallway outside of each sleeping area.
Choose smoke alarms that communicate with each other, so if one alarm sounds they all will.
Place smoke alarms on the ceiling or high on the wall. Check the manufacturer's instructions for the best place for your alarm.
Only qualified licensed and fully insured electricians should install hardwired smoke alarms.
Some fire departments will install battery-operated smoke alarms in your home at no cost. Contact your local fire department’s non-emergency phone number for more information.
Types of smoke alarms
There are many brands of smoke alarms on the market, but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.
Ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms detect different types of fires. Since no one can predict what type of fire might start in their home, the USFA recommends that every home and place where people sleep have both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or Dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors.
here are also alarms for people with hearing loss. These alarms may have strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to alert those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.
More about staying safe with smoke alarms
. (Installing and maintaining)
Eating Right During a Power Outage
Preparing for severe weather also includes planning ahead for power outages. When refrigeration and electricity are unavailable, finding creative ways to feed a family can be challenging, so it’s important to have a plan to ensure proper nutrition.
To help with planning,
Mayo Clinic nutritionists
of items to keep in your pantry as you prepare for disasters. They have also organized a
three-day meal plan
for a family of four.
in the plan do not require the use of power or refrigeration, but are still flavorful and fun to make.
Food safety and nutrition are critical to staying healthy during a disaster. The Mayo Clinic offers
for preparing your pantry and planning an emergency menu:
safe temperature zones of perishable food
. When the power goes out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold. The refrigerator, if unopened, will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will maintain its temperature for around 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed;
Stock up on condiments, particularly those that are vinegar-based, such as ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, and BBQ sauce. These items have a long shelf life and are versatile. Consider travel-sized packets for convenience;
Keep canned protein on hand (chicken, salmon, beans, and peanut butter);
Keep boxes of powdered milk or shelf-stable cartons on hand for cereal or deserts; and
Don't forget a manual can opener.
Plan to keep things clean after a disaster
Hygiene is critical after a disaster - and not easy to maintain. Whether it is food, water or hands, there are so many ways that things can become contaminated during a disaster and often limited options for getting things clean. Find out what you need to know about water, sanitation and hygiene before, during and after a disaster.
from the CDC:
Save the Children's Stay Connected Campaign
Hurricane Katrina led to 5,000 reports of missing children. A decade later, do your children and their care providers know who to contact in case of an emergency, when cellphones may be unreliable? Make sure you have a plan to Stay Connected with your family.
To make planning easier,
Save The Children
has a great new resource that allows parents to create an
Emergency Contact Card
online. This card will let your child and his or her caregivers know whom to contact in the chaotic aftermath of a calamity. It even allows you to identify a non-local point of contact, so someone outside the affected area can step in if you are unreachable, and captures information about the child’s allergies and medication needs.
to fill out the Emergency Contact Card form, then be sure to print it out and put it somewhere the child and caregiver can easily access it!
Overpacker or Prepared? A Plan & a Go-bag Helped this Dad's Family When Seconds Counted.
Ron Piedrahita has an unusual talent: he can get a lot of stuff into a very small space. He is also meticulous about keeping his family's go-bags up to date. When a derecho blew through his neighborhood, Ron was able to get his family out of the house in minutes with everything from clothes that fit his growing toddler to her favorite stuffed animal, "piggy," thanks in part to his well-stocked and frequently updated go-bags.
School Emergency Planning
Are you a parent or caregiver of a school-aged child? Disasters can strike at any time, even during school hours. As a new school year begins, it’s important for you to know how your child’s school handles emergencies.
The Ready Campaign
suggests asking the following questions about your child's school emergency plan:
How does the school plan on communicating with you in the event of a disaster?
Does the school store adequate water, food and other basic supplies?
Does the school have a plan for students to shelter in place?
If not, where will students go if they must evacuate?
You can never be too informed when it comes to school safety plans. Popular preparedness blogger, The Survival Mom, lists other questions you might want to ask, so be sure to check out
If your child’s school doesn’t have an emergency plan, consider volunteering to help create one. Parents and caregivers will be better prepared to safely reunite with their child if plans are made ahead of time.
Carbon Monoxide Safety During Power Outages
According to the
National Weather Service
, carbon monoxide poisoning is a leading cause of death after storms in areas experiencing power outages. Using alternative sources of power can cause carbon monoxide to build up in your home and poison your family. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas created by burning fuel when using portable generators, gas ranges, burning wood, or by running your car.
While deaths occur each year in the U.S. from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, this tragedy is preventable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these
tips for staying safe
when the power goes out:
Never us a generator inside your home or garage, even if the doors and windows are open;
Keep generators at least 20 feet from your home;
Install battery-operated or battery back-up carbon monoxide detectors near every sleeping area in your home; and
Check detectors every six months to be sure they are working properly.
The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, nausea, and confusion. If you think you are experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, get fresh air and seek immediate medical attention!
Do1Thing Reminder for August 2016: Get Involved
Make your community stronger by getting trained and getting involved.
Connect with an isolated individual in your neighborhood or start a neighborhood organization.
Isolated individuals are more vulnerable during and after a disaster. They are less likely to ask for help or follow emergency instructions.
Promote emergency preparedness in your community.
Scout troops, service clubs, residential associations, communities of faith—almost any organization you belong to can become a partner in emergency preparedness.
Become a volunteer in your community (CERT, Red Cross, Neighborhood Watch, etc.).
There are many places to volunteer in your community. Many police and fire departments use volunteers to help with special projects, events, or program. The American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other organizations train volunteers to work in disasters.
Know Your Alerts & Warnings
Receiving timely information about emergencies can make all the difference in knowing when to take action to protect yourself and your family. Local police and fire departments, emergency managers, the National Weather Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration work together to make sure you can receive alerts and warnings quickly through several different technologies no matter where you are.
If you’ve ever noticed a unique sound and vibration coming from your cell phone, you probably just received a
Wireless Emergency Alert
(WEA) - a nationwide emergency alert system notifying you of a pending emergency in your area. These messages provide information about extreme weather, local emergencies, AMBER Alerts™, and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency.
WEAs look like a text message and show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the alert. If you receive a WEA, follow the directions advised by the message and seek additional information from local media or authorities.
WEA messages can save lives! To learn more, checkout FEMA’s WEA
public service advertisement
Be Smart. Know Your Alerts and Warnings guide
Celebrating 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act
July 26, 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).This milestone law prohibits discrimination and mandates equal opportunity for people with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation and telecommunications and guarantees the civil rights of more than 56 million Americans.
The ADA was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and has shaped opportunities for people with disabilities in providing equal access to education, employment and to programs and services, including transportation, communications access, public accommodations, and more.
Integrating the needs of people with disabilities into disaster preparedness, response, and recovery planning is essential to proper emergency management. Under the authority of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides equal access throughout its services, including:
Public materials in alternative formats for people who are blind or have low vision; and
Ensuring all video materials are captioned.
Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the ADA, FEMA and the Ad Council launched a new
public service advertisement
(PSA) to raise awareness about the importance of being prepared for emergencies. While the PSA targets all communities, We Prepare Every Day is the first in a series of videos that aim to deliver a strong preparedness message by showing people with disabilities taking charge to prepare themselves and their families for emergencies. The PSA provides equal access to all viewers and includes open captioning, a
certified deaf interpreter
for viewers who are blind or have low vision.
The “Last House Standing”
What can you do with three minutes and $100,000? According to the
Federal Alliance for Safe Homes
(FLASH), you could have the “last house standing.”
“Last House Standing”
is FLASH’s exciting new mobile gaming application (app) that provides the ultimate design and disaster challenge! To begin, players are given three minutes and $100,000 to build a stylish and durable home in a virtual community. At the end of the challenge, a natural disaster strikes the neighborhood and the home is scored for flair and survivability. High scores are displayed on the Master Builder Board.
Get in the game! Download the app today and compete with friends to become a master builder and have the “last house standing.” It’s available for free on
To learn more about “Last House Standing,” take a look at this
This game is also a great way to start the preparedness conversation with your family! Visit
for valuable information about
Where to Store Your Disaster Supply Kit
You never know where you will be when an emergency occurs. That’s why it’s important to always be prepared! In addition to having a
disaster supply kit
at home, you should also store one at work and in your car. The contents of your kits should vary depending on the storage location. The
outlines what to pack in your disaster supply kit whether you’re at home or on the go:
Your home kit should contain items like non-perishable food items and water to last for at least three days. Keep it in a designated area, so that everyone has access to it. You may want to consider having supplies for sheltering for up to two weeks;
Your work kit should have enough food, water, and any necessary medications to last for at least 24 hours. You should also have comfortable shoes in case you have to walk a long distance in the event of an evacuation; and
Your car kit should include flashlights, jumper cables, a first aid kit, water, a shovel, and warm clothes!
Fires and floods cause evacuations most frequently in the U.S. and almost every year, people who live along coastlines evacuate when a hurricane approaches. In some circumstances, local officials decide that hazards are serious and may require a mandatory evacuation. When community evacuations occur, local officials provide information mainly through media sources, although, sirens, text message alerts, emails, and automated telephone calls are also used.
In addition, many disasters allow little to no time for people to gather basic supplies, so planning ahead is essential. Ready.gov offers tips to prepare your family for evacuation, including:
Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood. Use the
Family Emergency Plan
to decide these locations before a disaster;
emergency supply kit
unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated;
If you have a car, keep a full tank of gas in it if an evacuation seems likely. Keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case of an unexpected need to evacuate. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages; and
If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if you have to. Make arrangements with family, friends or your local government.
5 Easy Ways to Prepare Your Pet
If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. Unfortunately, animals are also affected by disaster. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire, flood, or tornado depends largely on emergency planning done today.
Here are five easy ways to prepare your pet for an emergency:
1) Identify a shelter: Before disaster hits call your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to
evacuate with your pets and that there will be shelters that take people and their pets in your area.
And just to be safe, track down a pet-friendly safe place for your family and pets. Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet's medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
2) Pack a pet kit: Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, manual can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they're not available later. Each pet is unqiue, but
each pet needs the basics in case of an emergency.
3) Update your pet's ID: Make sure identification tags are up-to-date and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site.
If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home.
4) Protect your pet during a disaster: Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Even if your dogs and cats normally get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally.
Understanding what to expect during a disaster is crucial.
5) Keep an eye on your pet after an emergency: The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard with access to shelter and water. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost.
Remember to keep taking care of them even after the disaster.
First Aid for Finances
Many Americans experience the challenge of rebuilding their lives after a disaster or other emergency. In these stressful circumstances, having access to personal financial, insurance, medical, and other records is crucial for starting the process of recovery quickly and efficiently.
Taking the time now to
collect and secure these critical records
will give you peace of mind. In the event of an emergency, it will also ensure that you have the documentation needed to start the recovery process without delay.
Emergency Financial First Aid Kit
(EFFAK) can help you financially prepare if a disaster or other emergency strikes your community. The EFFAK contains four important steps to financial preparedness:
Assemble your important documents and contacts;
Review your insurance policies and financial paperwork to be sure that they are still accurate and current;
Store paper and electronic copies of all files in safe locations; and
Revisit and update your EFFAK on a regular schedule. (Updates are especially important when certain changes in your life occur, like a change in marital status, birth of a child, and opening or closing accounts.)
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Resource List By Title
is an alphabetical listing of all products developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Each of the products listed is linked to provide easy access to all materials. The resource list was updated, and includes all NCTSN products developed through January 2015.
The Two-Minute Rule
Imagine being sound asleep in the middle of the night when suddenly your smoke alarms start blaring. Your house is filling with smoke. Do you know what to do? According to the American Red Cross (ARC), fire experts agree that people have about
to escape a burning home.
With this in mind, ARC created the
Home Fire Preparedness Campaign
to reduce the number of fire related deaths and injuries by up to 25 percent over the next five years. You can be a part of this movement by having a fire escape plan that includes the following:
Make sure all members of the household know how to get out of every room in the house;
Pick a place outside where everyone can meet and be sure everyone knows where it is;
Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside;
Practice your home fire drill until everyone in the house can do it in less than two minutes; and
Make sure everyone knows how to call '911'.
U.S. Fire Administration
(USFA) says people are at greater risk for home fires during the winter months. Now that the season is here, use ARC’s
and begin planning; then check out this
from the USFA to learn how to conduct a fire drill with your family today!
Emergency Preparedness Apps
Mobile applications have become more useful in keeping emergency preparedness information readily available to the public. Recently, the
U. S. Department of Energy
(DOE) released a new mobile preparedness app called
The app helps consumers quickly find and share critical information about nearby gas stations and power outages during energy emergencies. “Lantern Live” allows users to:
Report operational status of local gas stations;
Look up local utility power outage maps; and
Access useful disaster tips.
The DOE says future versions and updates of “Lantern Live” are likely to include the ability to crowdsource information on the status of gas stations through standardized social media hashtags.
“Lantern Live” is currently free to download for Android users via
Looking for more preparedness apps? Keep disaster information at your fingertips with mobile apps from
American Red Cross
Preparedness Myths Debunked
Disasters can happen at any time and with little to no warning; that’s why being prepared is so important! Some people may rely on old preparedness myths in response to certain disasters, which can prove dangerous. When it comes to disaster preparedness, can you separate fact from fiction? Test your knowledge with a few popular myths:
Standing inside a doorway is the best way to stay safe during an earthquake? According to FEMA, the current protective action to take during an earthquake is to
drop, cover, and hold on
. Download the America’s PrepareAthon!
How to Prepare for an Earthquake Guide
to learn earthquake basics and how to protect yourself during tremors. You can also check out the animated video,
“When The Earth Shakes,”
to see how to stay safe.
Duct taping your windows is a quick, easy way to protect your home’s windows before a hurricane. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection
against storm winds. Window coverings can help prevent debris from blowing into your home. Flying debris from strong winds causes most fatalities and injuries.
First responders will be able to help everyone during disasters. Emergency responders do a great job keeping people safe, but they can’t do it alone. It may also be several days before they can reach your area. As such, we must all embrace our personal responsibility to be prepared.
Remember, being prepared for disasters is a shared responsibility. It takes the
working together to effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters and other emergencies.
Give the Gift of Preparedness: Great for any gift giving occasion!
Several items that are critical in emergencies also make good holiday gifts, birthday gifts, etc.
A weather radio is a recommended purchase, preferably one developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Consumer Electronics Association. These radios broadcast National Weather Service forecasts and severe weather warnings 24 hours a day on the NOAA’s radio network. They cost between $20 and $200. Portable and handheld radios generally cost less than desktop models. FEMA recommends that the radio has an alarm, can run on batteries, solar power or a hand crank, and has an external or wireless output for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or blind, allowing connection to an alarm or other attention-getting device, such as a personal computer or text printer. Visit
for more information and to find a list of frequencies used for weather alerts.
A solar charging unit for charging and powering electronic devices is also recommended. These range in size from pocket-sized units to fold-out panel arrays and are powered by the sun, making them useful on clear days when electricity is unavailable. Prices start at less than $10 and can exceed $200.
A regular car charger can serve the same purpose. Pricing for these is more closely tied to size, starting at $3 and going up to $70 for multiple-device units. For any charger, make sure that it is properly adapted for the devices you will be using. Cell phones, tablets, cameras and computers have different connection points to external power supplies. More than one unit may be necessary.
Generators can serve as backup power sources in emergencies. A generator that produces a minimum of 4,000-5,000 watts of power is recommended. Contact an electrician to find out how much power your home needs. Generators in the 5,000-8,000 watt range can cost as little as $600 and as much as $4,000, and some may require additional accessories which will cost extra. Portable generators cost less than stationary standby models.
To cook food or heat water, pick up a camping stove. These outdoor-only stoves use propane, butane or other solid fuels. Butane- and cartridge-fueled stoves are less expensive ($10 to $50) than their propane-powered counterparts, but they usually only have one burner and those fuels are less effective in cold weather. Dual-burner stoves are more likely to run on propane and cost between $30 and $100. Single-burner propane stoves range from $20 to $60. You’ll also want to have enough fuel on hand for your stove. Small propane tanks cost between $3 and $6, packs of butane cans cost between $6 and $12 depending on the size of the pack, and solid fuel cartridge packs cost between $8 and $20.
Tea kettles are better for boiling water than pots or pans because they are enclosed and the metal interiors allow for more even heating. Most kettles suited for outdoor use are made of stainless steel, enamel or aluminum. These range in price from $15 to $75.
Ready-made first-aid kits can be purchased for use in the home or car. The Red Cross sells its own at www.redcrossstore.org and many retail stores also carry them. A pre-assembled kit with enough supplies for a family costs less than $40. Visit www.ready.gov/build-a-kit for lists of recommended safety kit items.
If you need both hands free to work, search or dig in darkness, consider a head lamp. Most head lamps are mounted on an elastic strap that can be wrapped around a hat or worn directly on the wearer’s head. A consumer-grade lamp can be purchased for less than $100.
Budget for Preparedness
In a recent FEMA household survey, we learned more than a quarter of participants reported they believe getting prepared is too expensive. Creating your disaster preparedness kit does not have to be costly! In fact, many of the items for your kit may be found around your home!
After you have built the majority of your kit from items already in your home, you can begin to build a list for the remaining items. Here are some additional tips from citizens across the country for keeping your disaster kit cost-friendly:
Shop at discount and dollar stores where appropriate;
Trade extra supplies with friends or family; and
Check the newspaper or online listings for discounted products.
For more simple and cost-friendly disaster kit suggestions, and easy steps you should take if disaster strikes, you can access FEMA’s free online “
Preparedness on a Shoestring
” activity module.
The “Preparedness on a Shoestring” activity module is part of FEMA’s “
Preparedness Activities for Communities Everywhere
” tools, which educates individuals about relatively easy steps to take to become prepared for all types of hazards.
Preparing for Everyone’s Needs
When planning for emergencies, it is vital to account for the needs of everyone who may be impacted. For example, there are several steps that individuals with
disabilities and others with access and functional need
s can take to stay safe and independent during a disaster. Such steps include, but are not limited to:
how to contact
family members or friends;
Make copies of medical prescriptions and medical history; and
Stock a basic
disaster supply kit
Individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs should also include items in their disaster kits essential for their needs, such as:
A TTY Text Telephone;
Hearing aids and batteries;
Written descriptions of service needs; and
Supplies for a service animal.
For more ideas on how to plan for disasters, check out this emergency preparedness
for individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.
mmunicating with Family and Friends During a Disaster
A focus of Preparedness Month (September) was how to reconnect with your loved ones after a disaster. At times, we focus on the preparedness kit and forget to establish a communications plan with family. FEMA provides tips for establishing a plan to communicate with loved ones in the wake of a disaster. Tips include:
for each member of your family and have them placed in purses, wallets and book bags;
Having a contact that does not live in your area that each family member can notify when they are safe if nable to contact family in the affected area. An out-of-area contact maybe in a better position to communicate among separated family members;
when telephone calls are not possible because of network disruptions; and
Using social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to alert family members that you are safe. You can also use the American Red Cross's
Safe and Well program
for additional information and tools to help you and your community establish communications plans.
Improving Preparedness for Community-Dwelling Older Adult Populations
For some community-dwelling older adults, attempting to prepare for an emergency or disaster can come with barriers. For example, characteristics of older adults such as impaired mobility, weakened sensory awareness, multiple chronic diseases, and social and economic limitations can put them at greater risk of illness or death during an emergency.
Disaster Preparedness for Children
American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP) and the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) collaborated to compile stories that highlight lessons learned or steps that doctors and families can take to improve disaster preparedness for children. Here are a few samples:
Children Are Not Little Adults
: Dr. Steven Krug discusses how children have a number of unique characteristics that make them different from adults in disaster situations. He shares how pediatricians can help respond to and plan for disasters, so that the distinct medical needs of children are met.
The Storm is Over, But Not Its Effects
: Dr. Grant Allen shares his experiences with the tornadoes that struck Alabama in 2011. He discusses how pediatricians can help families copwith the emotional trauma of a disaster by helping them prepare in advance.
Pediatrician for Preparedness
: Dr. Karen Landers suggests that pediatricians join emergency planning efforts in their communities and states to ensure the needs of children are addressed in disasters.
: Dr. Natalie Stavas recalls her response to the Boston Marathon bombings. Her story emphasizes the importance of pre-disaster planning and the need to leverage medical skills in disaster situations.
Mental Health and Recovery
: Dr. Dennis Cooley remembers his experience with the 2011 Joplin, Missouri, tornadoes. His story reinforces the importance of understanding the psychological effects of a disaster.
The CDC has also compiled stories from families sharing their preparedness experiences. These are available at
Real Stories - Special Needs and Emergency Preparedness
For more information, please e-mail
Safeguarding Your Savings
So, you are familiar with the hazards most likely to impact your community, and you have an
plan, and a
family communications plan
. You have even taken action to
prepare your pets
. But what about your finances? Pre-disaster financial planning is essential to help you and your family maintain financial stability in the event of an emergency. You should have a plan to pay your bills and access important records and accounts after a disaster, when mail services may be delayed, original documentation may be damaged or lost, or Internet access may not be available. It is also a good idea to have cash on hand to cover your expenses in case banks are also impacted by disaster. Protecting your financial records also facilitates the process of applying for income-based assistance following a disaster.
Take some time to review a few of these tips on financial preparedness:
Place important documents in a safe space. You can use the
Safeguarding Your Valuables
Emergency Financial First Aid Kit
to help get you started. These documents provide the basics of how to identify valuables and what low-cost options are available to protect them.
FEMA phone application
to access disaster preparedness, response and recovery resources including disaster assistance.
to minimize disruptions in receiving any federal benefits you may be entitled.
Explore other resources to help you get started including
Recovery After Disaster: The Family Financial Toolkit
Disaster Recovery Log
which can help your family get back on their feet after a disaster.
Financial Literacy Education Commission
can help you increase the financial preparedness of your household, workplace, and community. We encourage you to use the tools listed above or visit
. Start early on being financially prepared!
A Prepared Caregiver
An experienced caregiver gave suggestions for what to consider regarding preparedness, including acquiring supplies for basic needs, food, a support network, and creating a plan of action for scenarios outside the home.
ABCs of School Emergency Planning
Do you know the emergency plan at your child's school? What about the steps the school will take to share
with you? As a parent, it’s important to understand what will happen after a natural disaster or emergency at your child’s school.
Here are the ABC’s of what you should know about a school’s
Emergency Operations Plan (EOP):
A. Always ensure your school has up-to-date
. Ensure your school’s nurse has your child’s medical information and medications on hand. Ask your child’s teacher to walk you through their evacuation plan and show you their emergency kits.
B. Be Prepared. Provide your school with your cell phone number, work phone number, and contact information for your relatives. If your child is old enough to carry a cell phone, make sure they know how to text you or a designated contact in case of an emergency. Also, be prepared to have a
conversation with your child
about emergencies and hazards.
C. Coordinate with your child’s teachers and school officials to set a plan in place if there is not one. Guide them to
for more resources and encourage the school to perform school wide drills and exercises as part of
These ABCs, tools and resources are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your child’s at-school safety. For more information on how to get started visit
New Tool Developed By ODU Researchers Aimed at Encouraging Residents to Evacuate Before Big Storms
Researchers at Old Dominion University’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (FMASC) developed a new tool that graphically demonstrates to residents in southeastern Virginia the threats posed during a storm. The tool, Hurricane Evacuation Encouragement Demonstrator (HEED), encourages residents to evacuate before big storms.
During the warmer summer months you tend to spend a lot more time outdoors. Besides using proper sun protection, you should be also aware of the air quality. The
Air Quality Index
(AQI) tells you how clean or polluted your outdoor air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you.
The AQI scale runs from 0 - 500. The higher the value, the greater risk the air is to your health. 100 is generally accepted as the standard where air quality is satisfactory. Levels over 100 are considered unhealthy for sensitive groups of people at first, and then for everyone as the level rises. Those in sensitive groups include: older people, those with lung disease / conditions, and children.
Preparedness Saves: Tornados
Survivors of several major tornados highlighted preparedness processes like:
on where to take cover;
Stay informed with
Conduct take cover
Follow these inspiring survivors by getting prepared for a tornado before it strikes. America’s PrepareAthon! has developed several guides to lead you in tornado preparedness:
How to Prepare for a Tornado
Be Smart-Know Your Alerts and Warnings
Be Smart-Protect Critical Documents and Valuables
For more information visit
Flood Insurance 101
Taking action to prepare for
is important no matter where you live but especially if you are in low-laying areas or near water. Since floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States, preparing for this hazard is critical.
One way to prepare is with flood insurance. Keep your head above water by learning the basics about this special coverage available for homes and businesses. Here’s what you should know:
Flood losses are not typically covered under renter and homeowner’s insurance policies;
Flood insurance is available in most communities through insurance agents; and
There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect.
National Flood Insurance Program
(NFIP) is a valuable resource to learn more about your flood risk, how to
find an agent
, and the flood recovery process. NFIP also offers
to understand floods. Calculate the cost of flooding, watch real flood testimonials and launch a levee simulator to take your flood knowledge to the next level.
Floods are also one of the Spring hazards featured in
Soon you’ll be able to register to participate and take action for flood preparedness; but in the meantime, learn more about this grassroots campaign for action at
and check back often for updates!
You can also ensure you’re prepared for floods and at the same time help others in your community affected by a disaster by joining a local
Community Emergency Response Team
Want to keep flood safety at your fingertips? Download
from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes to share with your family and friends.
Just In Time Disaster Training - Library
"The purpose of this on-line video library is to provide a single, easy to search source in which individuals, agencies and organizations can access Just In Time Disaster Training videos. The videos found in this library cover disaster related mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery training for a wide variety areas."
While recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process, there are important financial decisions to make in the days immediately following it. Organizations like the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
can guide you through some of those decisions. Here’s
what you need to know
regarding finances and your home:
Take pictures of the damage and contact your insurance company to start the claims process;
If your income is interrupted and you can’t pay credit cards or other loans, contact the lenders before the next payment is due;
Take a look at your bills and set priorities. Pay your mortgage, rent and insurance payments first; and
Ask your utility companies to suspend your service if you are unable to live in your home.
Remember, damage to your home does not stop your responsibility to pay your mortgage. Contact your mortgage servicer and let them know your situation. There are a number of options available that may help you delay or reduce your payments.
You may also qualify for FEMA
if you are in a
presidentially declared disaster area
. Should an immediate need for food, shelter or water arise, the
American Red Cross
can also help.
shelter is critical
for protection in times of disaster. When conditions require it, you may need to seek shelter in your home, workplace or school. Sheltering outside the hazard area could include staying with friends or relatives or at a mass care facility operated by disaster relief groups.
The safest location to seek shelter varies by hazard. For example, select a room in a basement or an interior room on the lowest level away from windows and outside walls if a tornado strikes.
Depending on the type of disaster, there may be times when it is best to “
shelter in place
” to avoid uncertainty outdoors. Some guidelines for sheltering in place include:
Bring your family and pets inside immediately;
emergency supply kit
Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers; and
Go to an interior room with few or no windows.
If the need arises, you could be asked to create a barrier of protection between yourself and potentially contaminated air outside. Learn the steps required to “
seal the room
.” It could be a matter of survival!
6 Tips to Prepare for Blackouts
Before you read the tips, we'd like to ask:
How do you prepare for blackouts?
Follow energy conservation measures to keep the use of electricity as low as possible, which can help power companies avoid imposing rolling blackouts.
Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer if there's room. Leave about an inch of space inside each one, because water expands as it freezes. Chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold during a temporary power outage, by displacing air that can warm up quickly with water or ice that keeps cold for several hours without additional refrigeration.
Be aware that most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.
Keep your car tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it. Garage doors can be heavy, so know that you may need help to lift it.
Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.
Starting a Whole Community Preparedness Program
Preparedness Activities for Communities Everywhere
” tools (available in English and Spanish) can educate you about the simple steps you can take to become more prepared. As an initial first step to learn about preparedness, as a building block to more advanced preparedness training, or to supplement existing efforts, FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) worked with the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) to design a curriculum that serves the needs and interests of the whole community. The tools can be implemented following these simple steps that can be found in the free, online
Program Leaders Guide
Take the Free Online Introductory Program Course
Identify Your Target Audience
Determine Interests and Needs
Prepare the Presentation
Get the Word Out
If you have taken the training or have started a “
Preparedness Activities for Communities Everywhere
” training program in your community, we’d love to hear from you! Additionally, FEMA is available to help you develop, tailor, and refine quality local community preparedness programs that fit your needs. To request assistance; please send an email to
with “Whole Community TA” in the subject line.
For more information on whole community preparedness, please visit:
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