Preparing Your Home and Community for Disaster

"The best way for Americans to prepare themselves is to do basic things that will prepare them under any circumstances."

Mike Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response (FEMA)

Family sitting on the steps in front of their home.

Oklahomans living in "tornado alley" are familiar with the importance of being prepared and what to do during severe storms that could spawn tornadoes.

But, since 9-11, all Americans are far more aware that emergencies can be produced by man as well as nature.

Some steps to take to prepare for the unexpected can be done now, such as:

  • Putting together a kit of emergency supplies.
  • Making a plan for what you will do in an emergency - at home, at work, at school, while traveling.
  • Being aware of all resources available in order to stay informed during and after an emergency.

In addition, listed here are some questions to consider before you need the answers:

  • What would you do if basic services such as water, gas, electricity and phone were lost?
  • How would you decide whether to "shelter at home" or evacuate to a public shelter?
  • How would you talk to frightened children about the emergency?
  • What should you have on hand for your pets? What would you do with your pets if you are advised to evacuate?
  • What are the public danger warning signals in your neighborhood? (You might hear a siren, get a phone call, or emergency workers may go door-to-door.)
  • How would various members of your family reach each other?
  • Where are safe places in your home or office and what are the best escape routes?
  • If you have stored food and water, how often should these materials be replaced?
  • Where are your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers?

As you begin planning and preparations, remember in the event of a disaster to listen to radio and television messages from local and area emergency management officials. Awareness and a little advance planning will enable you to take the right actions quickly.