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Disaster Preparedness

Disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year. And they can have lasting effects to both people and property. Preparing for the unexpected is your best defense. Knowing what to do before a disaster occurs helps you to be able to respond quickly.

To start, talk with your family about the types of disasters that could happen in your community. Discuss what the potential dangers are and why you should be prepared. Make sure every family member knows their particular responsibilities and work together as a team. Being prepared can help reduce the fear, anxiety, and stress that typically accompany a disaster. Therefore, it is important that everyone participates and prepares.

There are many things you can do to prepare:

In addition to being prepared, there are a number of actions you will want to make sure to take during a disaster:

  • Remain calm and be patient.
  • Follow the advice of local emergency officials.
  • Listen to your radio or television for news and instructions.
  • Check for injuries.
  • Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people.
  • Do not enter structures that appear to be unstable.
  • When checking for damage do not use candles or turn on electrical switches; use a flashlight.
  • Check for fire and other potential hazards.
  • Smell for gas leaks such as the water heater.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main valve, open windows and get outside quickly.
  • Shut off any damaged utilities.
  • Confine or secure your pets.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or disabled.
  • If there is time, call your family contact to tell them where you are going and when you expect to arrive. Other than that, do not use the phone unless there is a life threatening emergency.

For more information on being prepared, visit For up-to-date information on available resources in the event of a disaster, visit 2-1-1