Ready for Hurricane Gustav?

As the season’s first major hurricane, Gustav, bears down on the Gulf coast, I thought it might be appropriate to review the Federal government’s information on preparedness. Those living in coastal communities should plan what they will do if they are told to evacuate.

This information comes directly from the government website at Ready.gov .

Step 1: Get A Kit / “To-Go Bag”

  • Get an Emergency Supply Kit,which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries. You may want to prepare a portable kit and keep it in your car. This kit should include:
    • Copies of prescription medications and medical supplies;
    • Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows;
    • Bottled water, a battery-operated radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit, a flashlight;
    • Copies of important documents: driver’s license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc.
  • Make sure you have a “to-go bag” ready in case you need to evacuate, include:
    • Water and non-perishable food;
    • Battery operated radio and batteries so you can get important information from local officials;
    • First aid kit;
    • Flashlight;
    • Maps
    • Important documents such as proof residence, pictures of your family including pets, insurance policies, and tax records;
    • Comfortable clothing and blankets;
    • Unique family needs such as prescription medications, pet supplies, infant supplies or any other unique need your family may have;

Step 2: Make a Plan

Prepare your family

  • Make a Family Emergency Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency
  • Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.
  • It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
  • You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one.
  • Plan to Evacuate
    • Identify ahead of time where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.
    • Identify several places you could go in an emergency, a friend’s home in another town, a motel or public shelter.
    • If you do not have a car, plan alternate means of evacuating.
    • If you have a car, keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case you need to evacuate.
    • Take your Emergency Supply Kit.
    • Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency.
  • Take a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class from your local Citizen Corps chapter. Keep your training current.

Step 3: Be Informed

Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as making an emergency supply kit and developing a family communications plan, are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency.

However, there are important differences among potential emergencies that will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. Learn more about the potential emergencies that could happen where you live and the appropriate way to respond to them.

In addition, learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government.

Emergency preparedness is no longer the sole concern of earthquake prone Californians and those who live in the part of the country known as “Tornado Alley.” For all people everywhere, preparedness must now account for man-made disasters as well as natural ones. Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.

Are you prepared? Take this quiz to determine your Readiness Quotient.

[tags]communication, decision, emergency, family, friend, friends, gas, review, responsibility, quiz, hurricane, hurricane gustav, ready.gov, preparedness, emergency plans, hurricane evacuation plans, hurricane evacuation[/tags]

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