It’s impossible to predict where you your family your friends or your personal care attendants will be when a disaster strikes. You could be forced to evacuate or confined to your home. Local officials will be responding to the scene but they may not be able to reach everyone right away. You are the best person to determine what you need and plan for your safety. Prepare in advance with your family and care attendants to assess your needs and develop your preparedness plan.
Family Safety Brochure - Created by Prince William County Citizens Council
Four Steps to Safety
1. Find Out What Plans are in Place
Find out about the disaster plans at your workplace your children's school or day care center and other places where your family spends time.
2. Make a Family Plan
- Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for unexpected events. Explain the dangers to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.
- Pick two places to meet:
- Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Everyone must know the address and phone number.
- Ask an out-of-state friend to be your 'family contact.' After a disaster it's often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contact's phone number. Make a wallet-size card for each family member that lists all important phone numbers and addresses.
3. Complete check list located in the Family Safety Brochure
4. Practice and Maintain Your Plan
- Quiz your kids every month or so.
- Conduct fire and emergency evacuations.
- Replace stored water and stored food every six months.
- Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Working with neighbors can save lives and property. Meet with your neighbors to plan how the neighborhood could work together after a disaster until help arrives. If you're a member of a neighborhood organization such as a homeowners' association or crime watch group introduce disaster preparedness as a new activity. Know your neighbors' special skills (e.g. medical technical) and consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs such as disabled and elderly persons. Make plans for child care in case parents can't get home.
If Disaster Strikes
Remain calm and patient. Put your plan into action.
Check for Injuries
Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people.
Call your family contact. Do not use the telephone again unless it is a life-threatening emergency.
- Check on your neighbors especially elderly or disabled persons.
Adapted from 'Family Disaster Plan' developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross.
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