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Disaster Preparedness News

In Times of a Disaster, F.E.M.A. Has Some Suggestions

FEMA Steps to SafetyExtreme weather poured down across the nation this past holiday season. From delays at the airport, to snowed-in roads, snow storms forced many holiday travelers to rethink their travel plans. However, it always seems as though some people miss their opportunities to rethink their survival plans. With Hurricane Katrina fresh on many people’s minds and earthquakes a looming threat throughout many areas of the country, the latest round of snow storms once again proves to us that it may be all too appropriate to reevaluate one’s own plan for themselves and their family in the event of radical weather and natural disasters.

December saw some debilitating weather throughout the country, particularly in Colorado. According to interviews transcribed on pbs.org, the snow “wiped out airline schedules, cut off roads, and stranded thousands of people”. Things got so bad that the governor called in the National Guard to help (pbs.org). Someone on the roads would have found themselves suddenly entrenched in a situation of unforeseeable consequences. People in their homes are suddenly bound by what they have in-house.

After 1994’s Northridge earthquake, gas and electric services were cut off to areas of the San Fernando Valley and residents learned the implications of disaster preparedness. Hurricane Katrina showed that even in recent times it is essential to be vigilant in stocking and planning. The most recent snow storms provide another example of when preparation can be the difference between life and death. Some government agencies have suggestions.

In publication #L-191, the Federal Emergency Management Agency devises “4 Steps To Safety”. Step one consists of evaluating the threats to you in your area. Contacting civic and emergency management authorities to assess what kind of disasters are likely in you area, and what warning signals are provided. The second step involves creating a well known plan with one’s family. Discussing why the meetings are necessary and what the risks are as well as creating safe meeting spots are all included in this step (F.E.M.A.). A checklist is the bulk of the third step and highlights action to be taken such as making all household members aware of where the gas shut-off is and how to use it. The final step stresses plan maintenance and communication amongst people.

We’re never sure what the exact calamity will be, but we can always maintain vigilance and preparation. Check out our emergency preparedness checklists to learn which emergency kits and supplies to keep in your home, car, school, and office.

By Casey Kozoll
QuakeKare Press
January 7th 2007