BEFORE: What you need to do before the storm
Before disaster hits, South Carolina Emergency Management Division officials want you to be prepared.
That's why they suggest the following in the days leading up to a natural disaster.
Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Many families already have an emergency plan for a house fire, so making an all-hazard plan will just add a few more details. Every member of the family will have a role during an emergency, so it is important to share ideas, responsibilities, and work as a team when you create your plan.
Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.
Everyone in the family should know the address and phone number of the designated meeting place. Pick two places to meet:
Outside your home in the case of a sudden emergency, like a fire; and
Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home.
Pick an out-of-town or out-of-state friend to be your "family contact." After a disaster, it is often easier to call long distance than to make a local call. All family members should call this person and tell them if they are safe, and where they are to help reduce panic during an emergency.
Discuss what to do in an evacuation and keep reference materials distributed by utilities and emergency managers with evacuation zones and routes in a designated area.Take some time to plan for your pets.
It is important to keep enough supplies in your home to meet the needs of your family for at least three days. Assemble a Family Emergency Kit with items you may need in an emergency or evacuation. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as suitcases, duffle bags or covered storage containers.
Include at a minimum:
- Water, two gallons of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
- Family emergency contact information
- Cash or traveler's checks and change
Additional items to consider include:
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Fire extinguisher
- Multipurpose tool
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Duct tape
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
- Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles or plastic milk jugs. Avoid using containers that will break, such as glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need more.
- Store two gallons of water per person per day (one gallon for drinking, one gallon for food preparation/sanitation)
- Keep at least a three-day supply of water for each person in your household.
- Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, little preparation or cooking and little or no water. Select food items that are compact and lightweight.
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
- Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)
- Staples--sugar, salt, pepper
- High energy foods--peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix
- Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons on special diets
- Comfort/stress foods--cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, tea bags
First Aid Kit
- Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. Contact your local American Red Cross chapter to obtain a basic first aid manual. Each first aid kit should include:
- 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
- 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
- Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
- Triangular bandages (3)
- 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
- 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
- Moistened towelettes
- Tongue blades (2)
- Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Assorted sizes of safety pins
- Cleansing agent/soap
- Latex gloves (2 pair)
SUGGESTIONS AND REMINDERS
- Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the Family Emergency Kit in the trunk of your car.
- Keep items in air-tight plastic bags.
- Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh.
- Rotate your stored food every six months.
- Re-evaluate your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
- Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.
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