When faced with a stressful situation, survivors of disasters may make uninformed and ignorant survival decisions. Making a plan, understanding your risks, and working through contingencies with your family will help them make smart, rational decisions during an emergency. Use the suggestions below to create your detailed preparedness plan.
Designate an Out of State Contact:
Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." Following a wide-spread disaster, long-distance communications have a more substantial chance of delivery vs. local communications. Texts vs. calls have an even higher success rate as your phone will store a text until it can find a signal.
Advise your family contact to remain near a phone during and after the storm. Ensure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of your designated contact person. Complete and hand out the out-of-state Contact Cards to every member of your family. Carry them in wallets, purses, or backpacks.
If you are separated from your loved ones during an emergency, text your out-of-state contact number. Give your contact critical information including your physical condition, location, direction, and plan to reunite. Check back regularly.
Create A Plan to Reunite:
Make a plan on where and how to unite separated family members. Practice different routes to your rendevous location.
Surviving a hurricane is just the beginning of your ordeal. Make a recovery plan with your family, friends, and neighbors by assigning specific responsibilities to each person. Tasks should include checking on elderly neighbors, watching young children, setting up shelters, and assessing damaged structures.
Develop A Message Drop:
Identify a secure location outside your home where family members can leave messages for each other. If you are separated and unable to remain in your home, leave a message so your family will know where to find you. Choose a discrete location for the message drop. You do not want to publicize to vandals that you are not at home.
Identify the safest, most secure place in your home:
If you decide to shelter-in-place during a hurricane, avoid heavy furniture, appliances, large panes of glass, shelves, and masonry veneer (such as the fireplace). These items tend to fall or break and can injure you. Identify danger spots such as windows, mirrors, hanging objects, fireplaces, and tall furniture).
Know your Environment:
Identify each exit from your house. Discover exits that would only be available to you in an emergency. Recognize open areas around your house free from buildings, trees, telephone and electrical lines, overpasses, or elevated expressways. Understand how to shut-off your home's water, gas and electricity. If you are not sure, contact your utility company.
Conduct Practice Drills:
A Hurricane Preparedness Plan is worthless if family members are not familiar with it. Practice each part of your plan with the entire family until everyone is clear on their responsibilities.