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 side bar.

Citizens are urged to report any suspicious activity to the:
  • Delaware Anti-Terrorism Tip Line 1-800-FORCE-1-2 (1-800-367-2312) or 911.
  • Terrorism e-tip e-mail: FORCE12@state.de.us

Do1Thing in June: Unique Family Needs
Make sure the people who count on you are prepared for a disaster.
Every household is different. Is there an infant or young child in your home? Does someone in your family have a medical condition that requires medication? Do you have a pet? Before disaster strikes, talk to your family about your household’s unique needs. Make a list of special items you may need in a disaster.

Steps for Cleaning Up After a Flood
After flooding, it is important to know how to clean up safely.
Listen to local authorities to determine when it is safe for you to return home. Do not return home until local officials indicate it is safe to do so. Stay vigilant and monitor radio or TV stations for local emergency management officials’ guidance.

Ensure water is safe to drink, cook, or clean with after a flood. Oftentimes local officials put a boil water order in place following a flood or hurricane.
Remember, never run a generator inside your home, and keep it away from windows, doors, and vents.

Tips from FEMA for clean-up after returning home:
  • Always wear protective clothing including long-sleeved shirts, long pants, rubber or plastic gloves and waterproof boots or shoes.
  • Before entering your home, look outside for damaged power lines, gas lines, and other exterior damage.
  • Take photos of your damage before you begin to clean up and save repair receipts.
  • Get rid of mold. Mold may have contaminated your home, which raises the health risk for those with asthma, allergies, and breathing conditions. Refer to the Center for Disease Control for more info on mold.
  • Open doors and windows so your house can air out before spending any length of time inside.
  • Turn off main electrical power and water systems and do not use gas appliances until a professional can ensure they are safe.
  • Check all ceilings and floors for signs of sagging or other potentially dangerous structural damage.
  • Throw out all foods, beverages, and medicines exposed to flood waters or mud including canned goods and containers with food or liquid.
  • Throw out any items absorb water and you cannot clean or disinfect (i.e. mattresses, carpeting, stuffed animals, etc.).
  • Beware of snakes, insects, and other animals that may be on your property or in your home.
  • Remove all drywall and insulation that has been in contact with floodwaters.
  • Clean all hard surfaces (flooring, countertops, appliances, sinks, etc.) thoroughly with hot water and soap or detergent.

To learn more about what to do before, during, and after a flood or a hurricane, visit www.ready.gov/floods, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Flood Water After an Emergency or Disaster.

If you experienced a flood or other damages due to recent hurricane activity, please visit www.disasterassistance.gov to register for federal assistance.

Coping Mechanisms: Children and Disasters
Disasters can leave children feeling frightened, confused, and insecure. Whether a child has personally experienced trauma or seen the event on television, it is important for parents to be informed and ready to help ease their child’s stress.

According to child psychologists, children may respond to disaster by demonstrating fears, sadness, or behavioral problems. These reactions may vary depending on the child’s age.

Adult behavior, thoughts, and feelings often influence children’s reactions. Parents can help meet their child’s emotional needs by:
  • Encouraging him or her to share thoughts and feelings about the incident;
  • Clarifying misunderstandings about risk and danger by listening to their child’s concerns and answering questions;
  • Maintaining a sense of calm by validating their child’s concerns and perceptions with discussion of concrete plans for safety; and
  • Monitoring or limiting exposure to the media.

For more information about helping children cope with disaster, visit www.ready.gov/coping-with-disaster.

Children and Disasters
Schools and Childcare Centers: How you can protect the children in your care during a disaster or emergency. https://www.cdc.gov/childrenindisasters/schools.html

Do you Need a Smoke/Fire Detector (Maryland/Delaware area)?
Sign up here: http://www.redcross.org/local/maryland-delaware/home-fire-safety

Sign up to Sound the Alarm!
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program Office, the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, and local fire departments have partnered to install 100,000 smoke alarms this summer and fall for local Sound the Alarm community events.
Partnering with these organizations could be a great opportunity for local CERT programs to attract and engage volunteers. The success of the partnership lies with individual programs, program managers, and volunteers!
Consider mobilizing your team for a local Sound the Alarm event. The Red Cross handles the training, logistics, communications, and liability. This opportunity is a simple and easy way for CERT programs to engage with their communities, make a real difference, and promote CERT!

Joining is simple! Follow these steps to sign up to be a Sound the Alarm volunteer:
  1. Go to www.redcross.org/sound-the-alarm.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your zip code to find a nearby event.
  3. Scroll down again and click the region nearest you.
  4. Scroll down again to “Volunteer Opportunities,” click the event that works for you. Once you choose the event, fill out the short application.
  5. Be sure to type “CERT team/program name” in the Group/Organization field so FEMA can recognize your participation.
Registration is open now!

Make Preparedness Fun for Kids
You may not be with your children when disaster strikes, so it is important they know how to stay safe during emergencies.
To make disaster preparedness fun, Save the Children® and Scholastic® created the following resources to share with kids.

Keep the Herd Safe is a fun-filled activities page for children in grades 1-3 to encourage disaster planning and to teach them how to stay connected in the event of an emergency. Parents, guardians, and those who care for children can help youth complete In Case of Emergency (ICE) Cards featuring characters from the animated film “Ice Age: Collision Course.”

Do you know how to do the Prep Step?
Save the Children’s® Prep Step video combines valuable safety tips with fun dance moves to get kids excited about preparedness. You can also download the Prep Step song for children to listen to while on the go. Download today and get moving! Making preparedness fun and easy for kids is one of the best ways to get them involved in their own safety.
Find even more preparedness resources for children at www.ready.gov/kids.

Protecting Your Pets
When you prepare for a disaster, remember to prepare to take care of the whole family – including your pets. Does your family’s emergency plan take into account key questions, like how you will find your pet if it gets lost; how to make sure that your pet has the food, water and medicines it needs to stay healthy; and what you would do if you need to evacuate quickly? There are a few things you can do now to make sure that you have good answers to these questions so you can keep everybody safe in a disaster.
  • Get your Pet Microchipped: Microchipping your pet can help you find your pet if something happens during a disaster. Remember, disasters can strike at any time. If homes and other buildings are destroyed, pets may roam. Microchipping a pet is pretty inexpensive and helps reunite you and your pets after an event. But microchipping is only a small piece of a pet preparedness plan.
  • Make a Grab and Go Kit: Sometimes, you don’t have much notice before you and your pet need to evacuate. Although some other aspects of a kit are obvious (like including a water dish, food, vaccination records and a leash), sometimes it’s hard to think of what else should be part of your pet preparedness kit and what else you need to plan for. Luckily, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a great emergency supplies and traveling kits checklist to help you out.
  • Make a Comprehensive Plan: The American Veterinary Medical Association has put together a comprehensive planning guide to help you plan for other aspects of a disaster, like what you can do in case you aren’t home, what veterinary records you need to have handy, and important emergency contacts. And remember, many emergency shelters can’t accommodate pets, so have a plan ready. Contact your local emergency management office, animal shelter, or animal control office to learn about the options available in your area. For more information on finding shelter for your pets during an emergency, see FEMA’s planning tips for sheltering your pet.
  • When in Doubt, Throw it Out: Remember, the basic principles of food safety apply to your pet's food too. Pet food can become contaminated by floodwaters and other issues that are common in a disaster. If you think that pet food has become contaminated, throw it out. Remember to be careful when handling pet food and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling any food that may have become contaminated..
By taking these simple steps now, you can have the peace of mind of knowing that you’ve prepared to keep your furry, feathered or scaly friends safe in an emergency.

Help Kids Cope App
Does your family ever talk about disasters BEFORE they happen? Do you wonder:
  • “How do I talk to my kids before, during, and after a disaster?”
  • “How can I help my child stay calm in a hurricane?”
  • “What reactions should I expect from my child and when should I seek help?”

Help Kids Cope equips parents:
  • Learn what to do BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER a disaster..
  • Know what to say “in the moment” to support kids of all ages.
  • Hear audio clips of parents’ experiences.
  • Understand how kids commonly respond during and after disasters.
  • Use the checklists to prepare your entire family before disasters.
  • Explain different disasters to your kids using age-appropriate language.
  • Find tips on caring for yourself as you care for your family.
  • Connect to activities, children’s books, tip sheets, and more!
Download Help Kids Cope — Free from Google Play and iTunes. Works on Android (4.3 and up) and Apple devices (iPod touch, iPhone, iPad). For iPad users: tap on the iPad Only” drop-down menu and select “iPhone Only” from the menu to view and download the app.

Helping Older Americans Prepare
The first step is identifying what you or older adults in your household may need to be prepared. Evaluate those needs, include them in your emergency plan, and add any necessary items to your emergency supply kit. The Ready Campaign recommends seniors consider the following measures:
  • Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends, and co-workers to aid you in an emergency. Discuss your needs and make sure everyone knows how to operate necessary equipment. If appropriate, discuss your needs with your employer.
  • Keep specialized items ready, including extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, food for service animals, and any other items you might need.
  • Keep written copies of your prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and orders for medical equipment, including dosage, treatment, and allergy information in your emergency kit.
  • Make a list of the type and model numbers of the medical devices you require.
  • Talk with your medical service providers about their emergency plans if you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital or if you receive regular services such as home health care, treatment, or transportation. Work with them to identify back-up service providers and incorporate them into your personal support network.
  • Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and other sources to store for your reference. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides an online tool intended to help people locate and access their electronic health records from a variety of sources.
  • Coordinate with friends, family, or specialty transportation service providers in the event of a mandatory evacuation.
  • http://nacchopreparedness.org/?p=3122
Find more information on preparedness for older Americans at www.ready.gov/seniors.

Disaster Preparedness at Your Fingertips
Take the first step toward emergency preparedness by downloading the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) app.
Did you know your smartphone can be an important tool to help you prepare?
Many people use mobile applications (apps) to receive updates on severe weather, help them plan for emergencies, and stay informed of community activities.
The Disaster Information Management Research Center compiled apps from various organizations to help you find appropriate and trustworthy applications including those from FEMA and the American Red Cross. These apps cover the following areas:
  • Family Reunification
  • American Red Cross Suite of Apps
  • Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Hazardous Substances
  • Medical and Health Information
  • Responder Support and Safety including field operations guides
  • Psychological Health Tools for staying emotionally healthy
  • U.S. Federal Agencies
  • Surveillance and Alerts such as disease outbreaks and severe weather warnings
Having preparedness information and planning tools literally at your fingertips is an easy way to take action now!

Keep Your Valuables Safe from Floods and Fires
Learn how to document, insure and protect your property in the event of an unexpected flood or fire.
You can use helpful, free checklists from Prepareathon to Document and Insure Your Property and Protect Your Critical Documents and Valuables. By taking pictures of your belongings, you create an inventory of the valuables in your home. The Insurance Information Institute offers a free tool on Know Your Stuff.org, which allows you to create a home inventory with your smartphone, tablet or computer.

The tips below from Prepareathon’s Document and Insure Your Property checklist recommend you document, insure, and protect your property by:
  • Creating an inventory of your home or business. A detailed inventory of your property’s contents will help you prove the value of what you owned, which could speed your insurance claim processing, and will provide documentation for the tax deductions you can claim.
  • Ensuring you have appropriate insurance. Not all insurance policies are the same. Coverage amounts, deductibles, and payment caps can vary significantly. Consult with your insurance professional to be sure your policy is right for you.
  • Keeping vital records in a safe place. Store paper copies, or electronic copies on a flash or external hard drive in a waterproof and fireproof box, safe, or bank deposit box.
  • Storing policy numbers and contact information nearby. Keep your policy numbers, your insurance professional/company phone number, and claim filing instructions in a secure, convenient location.

Fire Safety for Older Adults
People over the age of 65 face the greatest risk of dying in a fire, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).
Reduce that risk by protecting yourself and your loved-ones with these special precautions from the USFA:
  • Install and maintain smoke alarms on each level of your home and inside and outside sleeping areas. Test them monthly, and replace alkaline batteries at least once a year.
  • Develop a fire escape plan around your abilities. If you use a walker or wheelchair, check all exits to be sure that you can go through the doorways. Unless instructed by the fire department, never use an elevator during a fire.
  • When using medical oxygen, the amount of oxygen in the air can increase.This means there is a higher risk of both fires and burns because it is easier for a fire to start and spread. Never smoke in a home where someone is using medical oxygen. Also, never use a candle, match, lighter or other open flame. In addition, never use a fireplace, stove or other equipment fueled by gas, kerosene, wood or coal. Keep oil, grease and similar petroleum-based products away from oxygen valves. They can cause a spontaneous explosion.

Learn more about how older adults can stay safe from fire with more tips, resources and statistics from the USFA.

Food Safety from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
"Extreme weather sometimes wreaks havoc when it strikes our communities—destroying homes and compromising safety. Floods and power outages from hurricanes, tornadoes, and snow storms can cut off water supplies and quickly contaminate food. Protect yourself, your family, and your pets from foodborne illnesses. Following are steps you can take to preserve your food and water during storms."

Learn Your Local Evacuation Routes
Evacuations from your home or work are more common than many people realize. FEMA urges residents to know their evacuation routes and to heed the direction of local officials taking seriously their instructions to evacuate. According to the Ready Campaign, fires and floods cause evacuations most frequently across the U.S., and almost every year, people along coastlines evacuate as hurricanes approach. In addition, hundreds of times per year, transportation and industrial accidents release harmful substances, forcing many people to leave their homes.

You don’t have to wait for an official evacuation notice to prepare, you can start now. Contact your local emergency management agency for the evacuation routes in your community. Additionally, follow these guidelines for evacuation:

Be ready to evacuate yourself and your family with Ready’s Evacuation Guidelines.

How to Prepare for an Active Shooter Scenario
Recent national tragedies remind us that an active shooter incident could happen in any place at any time. The best way to make sure you and your loved ones stay safe is to prepare ahead of time.

To help you prepare, the Federal Emergency Management Agency released the How to Prepare for an Active Shooter Scenario guide that outlines steps you can take before, during, and after an active shooter incident. The guide also includes additional resources, including an online course, and information for houses of worship and schools.

To learn more about preparing for an active shooter incident, check out this story featuring Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois where 1,700 students, 150 staff, and 34 local agencies, organizations, and public safety departments participated in a full-scale active shooter exercise.

Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Traumatic Event: What to Expect in Your Personal, Family, Work, and Financial Life

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.
The 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 application 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 tornado checklist 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 redcross.org/monsterguard.

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Fire Prevention Preparedness Tips
Smoke Alarms...here's what you need to know!
Smoke alarms 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 created a grocery list 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. Recipes 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 these tips for preparing your pantry and planning an emergency menu:
  • Know the 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.

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.

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. Learn More 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.
Head to http://www.savethechildren.org/Connect 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 her blog.
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!

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 and the Be Smart. Know Your Alerts and Warnings guide.

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 Apple and Android devices.
To learn more about “Last House Standing,” take a look at this video clip from FLASH.
This game is also a great way to start the preparedness conversation with your family! Visit America’s PrepareAthon for valuable information about earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and winter storms.

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 Ready campaign 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!

Evacuation Occasion
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;
  • Take your 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.

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.
The 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 two minutes 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'.

The 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 printable worksheet and begin planning; then check out this video 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 "Lantern Live." 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;
  • Find fuel;
  • 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 Google Play.
Looking for more preparedness apps? Keep disaster information at your fingertips with mobile apps from FEMA and the 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 whole community 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 www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr 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 needs can take to stay safe and independent during a disaster. Such steps include, but are not limited to:
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 instructional video for individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.

Communicating 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:
  • Completing a contact card 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;
  • Using text messaging 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.
Click here for additional information and tools to help you and your community establish communications plans.

Disaster Preparedness for Children
The 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.
  • Remembering Boston: 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 DisasterReady@aap.org.

Safeguarding Your Savings
So, you are familiar with the hazards most likely to impact your community, and you have an emergency kit, an evacuation 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:

The 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 Ready.gov/financialpreparedness. 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 pertinent information 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 evacuation plans, emergency kits and contact sheets. 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 Ready.gov for more resources and encourage the school to perform school wide drills and exercises as part of America’s PrepareAthon!

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 http://www.ready.gov/school-emergency-plans.

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:

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:

For more information visit www.ready.gov/prepare!

Flood Insurance 101
Taking action to prepare for flood hazards 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.

The 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 interactive ways 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 America’s PrepareAthon! 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 www.ready.gov/prepare 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 FLASH Cards 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." http://www.drc-group.com/project/jitt.html

Disaster Recovery
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 disaster assistance if you are in a presidentially declared disaster area. Should an immediate need for food, shelter or water arise, the American Red Cross or United Way can also help.

Take Shelter
Taking appropriate 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;
  • Get your 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?
  1. Follow energy conservation measures to keep the use of electricity as low as possible, which can help power companies avoid imposing rolling blackouts.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Keep your car tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
FEMA’s “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:
  1. Take the Free Online Introductory Program Course
  2. Identify Your Target Audience
  3. Determine Interests and Needs
  4. Select Presenters
  5. Prepare the Presentation
  6. Arrange Logistics
  7. 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 citizencorps@dhs.gov with “Whole Community TA” in the subject line.
For more information on whole community preparedness, please visit: http://www.ready.gov/neighbors-helping-neighbors-through-preparedness.