Preparedness Information: Safety
Preparedness Information: Safety
Safety is best accomplished through planning and preparation. Take time to prepare now!
- Discuss the types of disasters that could occur with family members and neighbors, and plan how to prepare and respond. Practice what you have discussed.
- Plan how your family and other loved ones will stay in contact if separated by disaster. Pick two meeting places: 1) a location a safe distance from your home, and 2) a place outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home.
- Choose an out-of-state friend or family member as a "check-in contact point" for everyone to call, presuming the phones are working.
- Show responsible family members how and when to shut off your water, gas, and electricity at main switches. Have the proper tools to do those things. Ask your local utility company about the procedure if you aren't sure how.
- Install a smoke detector on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms. Test them monthly and change the batteries twice each year.
- Always keep an A-B-C fire extinguisher close to hand.
- If you use candles, place them in a safe location away from any flammable material.
- Be sure oil lamps and candles are placed where normal movement, jumping around or pets' movements won't affect them. Don't leave burning lamps or candles for any extended period of time.
- Never leave children alone near an open flame or with matches. Keep clutter away from the stove while cooking.
- If grease catches fire, do not throw water on it. Never pour water on a grease fire or try to beat it out with a towel. Cover the pan with a lid. Be careful. Moving the pan can cause the fire to spread. If grease has spattered, use a fire extinguisher or sprinkle the fire with baking soda.
- Have your chimney cleaned and the flue checked before using.
- Learn first aid and CPR.
The best security system is the one you create by getting to know and working with your neighbors and community members. Many security systems, such as motion and heat detectors, and pressure pads, depend on electricity - whether from the grid or backup power systems - and will fail if the power goes off.
Electronic Locks, Key Cards, Code Locks and Garage Door Openers
- If electronic locks rely on electricity, it is likely either they won't open, possibly locking a person in or out, or they may fail in "safe mode" by releasing the lock. If this is the case, security is in question.
- Check each electronic lock or security device to see if there is a manual override. If there is, make sure you have the key or information to use it. If you don't have the key or don't know how to open the lock, you may need to force the door to get in or out.
- If you think it's likely the lock will fail, you can keep the door open or block the locking mechanism from engaging. This may cause an alarm to go off, which may mean you will have to override it beforehand, or be prepared to explain the alarm to security or police.
- Key cards and locks you open by punching in a code may also fail. Prepare by learning about possible alternatives.
Valuables and Records
Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
- Wills, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds, mortgage documents
- Passports, Social Security Cards, immunization records.
- Bank account numbers, bank statements
- Credit card account numbers and companies.
- Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers.
- Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates).
For other valuables, bank vaults will be the safest place. However, use bank vaults only if you won't need the items during the emergency and recovery period.