There are many different forms of emergencies. It is important to become familiar with all the possible emergency situations that could occur before they actually happen, and think about what steps to take in that situation to ensure your safety and the safety of your family members.

Natural disasters such as flood, fire, earthquake, tornado and windstorm affect thousands of people every year. You should know what your risks are and prepare to protect yourself, your family and community. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling a supply kit and developing a family emergency plan, are the same for all types of hazards. However each emergency is unique and knowing the actions to take for each threat will impact the specific decisions and preparations you make. By learning about these specific threats, you are preparing yourself to react in an emergency. The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property before severe weather:

  • Build an Emergency Supply Kit, which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries.
  • 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.
  • Continually monitor the media to be aware of storm’s which could impact your area.
  • Know how you will be warned in an emergency (NOAA Weather radios with a tone alert are a good option).
  • Know where to shelter (ie: basement, interior room/hall, bathroom, closet, etc)
  • Know how to shut off utilities, including power, water and gas, to your home.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone knows how to use them.

See full list here:

  • Message Alerts: There are several ways to get message alerts in the case of a natural disaster or other form of emergency. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) send free informational text messages to WEA-enabled cell phones within range of an imminent and dangerous local situation, severe weather event, or AMBER emergency (child abduction alert system). The Emergency Alert System (EAS) can address the entire nation on very short notice in case of a grave threat or national emergency. Ask if your local radio and TV stations participate in EAS. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from a nearby National Weather Service office to specially configured NOAA weather radio receivers. Determine if NOAA Weather Radio is available where you live. If so, consider purchasing a NOAA weather radio receiver. Read more here:

    Other forms of emergencies include: Pandemic (massive outbreak of a disease), Home fires, Technological and Accidental Hazards, and Terrorists Hazards.
    Terrorist Hazards include: Biological threats, chemical threats, cyber-attacks(an attempt to damage, disrupt, or gain unauthorized access to a computer, computer system, or electronic communications network), explosions, nuclear blasts, and Radiological Dispersion Devices (RDD). Learn what actions to include in your family disaster plan to prepare for and respond to terrorist threats.

    Technological & Accidental Hazards include technological hazards such as nuclear power plant failures and hazardous materials incidents. Usually, little or no warning precedes these disasters. Learn what actions to include in your family disaster plan to prepare for and respond to such incidents here:

    Evacuation and Shelter: Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the emergency, the first important decision is whether you stay where you are or evacuate. In any emergency, local authorities may or may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for information or official instruction as it becomes available. Read further information about staying put or sheltering in place here:

    Through Citizen Corps, individuals can learn about opportunities to get involved and help build capacity for first responders. With proper training and education, civilian volunteers expand the resources available to states and local communities. Many partner organizations offer public education, outreach and training for free. Here is a list of nonprofits and partner organizations:

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