Since no one can predict exactly when and where an emergency situation will occur, being prepared for emergencies is everyone's responsibility - including yours! You should always be prepared to take steps to maintain your own safety during emergency situations. Panicking or not knowing how to react is a major obstacle to a safe effective response in an emergency. Advanced planning and preparation are the most effective ways of ensuring you'll be able to respond calmly and effectively in an emergency. The emergency can be something small such as a fire or can be a large scale disaster like an earthquake.
Many people believe government services will be able to feed and shelter them immediately following a large scale disaster. Unfortunately, this frequently is not the case. Due to our isolated geographic area and lack of redundant resources and systems, the city and county will be overwhelmed. This is especially true during the first 72 to 96 hours, until state and federal resources arrive. Everyone living in our region, including you, needs to create a 72 hour self-reliance plan. Here are some simple steps you can take to help you be prepared for any emergency, small or large.
- Make sure you have adequate supplies at home for emergencies.
- Keep at least 72 hours of non-perishable food at home.
- Have at least 1 gallon per person per day of drinking water at home.
- Keep an adequate supply of any needed prescription medications on hand.
- Regularly check the batteries in your smoke detector, cell phones, flashlight, and portable radios. We recommend checking batteries at daylight savings changes. Keep extra batteries on hand, or purchase crank type radios and flashlights.
- Know how to shut off utilities (gas, water, electricity).
- Inventory your possessions using video or photos and store in a fireproof safe, safety deposit box, or send copies to an out of area family member.
- Collect important documents (insurance policies, wills, passports, etc.) and store in fireproof safe or safety deposit box.
- Develop a personal emergency plan with your family including school age children. For more information go to http://www.ready.gov/kids/home.html
- Establish an out-of-state phone contact for all family and close friends. They will serve as a clearing house for information. Many times out of state phone lines will work when local numbers won't.
- Practice family fire drills and establish a family meeting place outside.
- In case of emergency, program emergency contact numbers in your cell phones using ICE1, ICE2.
IF you must evacuate your home have a pet plan. Only one shelter in Jackson County allows you to bring pets. When making a pet plan consider the following:
- Make a list of phone numbers and addresses of vets and animal boarding facilities in the area.
- Keep copies of your pets vaccination records with your important papers.
- Keep a picture of your pet with your important papers in case you are separated.
- Have a ID chip placed in your pet.
- Make a list of pet items to take: leash, kennel, medication, 3 day supply of food and water, pet toy, cat litter & box, plastic bags and hand sanitizer for waste clean-up.
For more information on pet, livestock and wildlife care during a disaster go to http://www.fema.gov/