Why Prepare for a Disaster?
Remember: Always call 911 if a person is seriously injured!
Disaster can strike without warning, forcing you to go for days without basic necessities or to evacuate your home. Relief workers will be on the scene following a disaster, but may not be able to reach you immediately.
You need to be prepared. Knowing the steps to take during a disaster–whether flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes or another crisis–can greatly reduce the danger and distress your family may face.
Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter to learn which disasters could strike your community. Use their information to help you prepare for and reduce the risks you face.
Creating a Basic Emergency Plan
Having a plan is one of the most important steps you can take in disaster preparedness. Knowing what to do and how to do it can help your family manage disasters with less worry, fear and uncertainty.
- Decide what you and your family would do in each potential emergency situation.
- Draw a floor plan of your home showing escape routes.
- Choose a place away from your neighborhood where family members can meet in case you are separated and cannot return home due to a disaster.
- Identify a friend or relative who lives out of the area for family members to contact if you are separated.
- Post emergency numbers in every phone and teach children how and when to call 911.
- Know how to shut off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches in your home.
- Plan how to help elderly or disabled neighbors in a disaster.
- Check that your insurance policies are up-to-date and provide good coverage.
Preparing a Disaster Supply Kit
Having a disaster supply kit ready to take with you at a moment’s notice ensures that you will have necessary supplies no matter how fast you may need to evacuate. Pack supplies in duffel bags or backpacks and keep them in a designated place. Your kit will also come in handy if you must take shelter in your home. This list will help ensure that your disaster supply kit includes all the essentials.
- Pack at least one gallon per person per day for at least 3 days.
- Store water in tightly sealed, nonbreakable plastic, fiberglass or enamel-lined metal containers.
- Change your water every 6 months.
- Pack enough food to last each family member at least 3 days.
- Include canned and boxed foods because they require little preparation and stay good for long periods of time. Remember to bring a manual can opener or to buy food in self-opening cans.
- Pack foods in sealed metal or plastic containers.
- Replace food every 6 months.
- Include foods for infants and family members with special diets.
Tools & Equipment
- Battery-powered radio
- Spare batteries
- Resealable plastic bags
- Washcloths and towels
- Paper cups, paper plates, and plastic utensils
- Toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, and other toiletries
- Heavy-duty plastic garbage bags
- Change of clothing and an extra pair of shoes and socks for each person
- Blankets or a sleeping bag for each person
- Personal identification
- Copies of birth and marriage certificates, inventory or household goods, bank account numbers, and other important documents
- Extra car and house keys
- Prescription medications
First Aid Kit Essentials
- Adhesive bandages
- Antibiotic ointment
- Antidiarrhea medication
- Aspirin and nonaspirin pain reliever
- Cleansing agents (isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, soap, germicide)
- Cotton balls
- First aid manual
- Gauze pads and roll
- Latex gloves
- Moist towelettes
- Needle and safety pins
- Petroleum jelly
- Tongue depressors
- Triangular bandages
Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Resources
- York City Bureau of Health
- York City Fire Rescue Services
- American Red Cross
- Citizens Corps
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Institute for Business and Home Safety
- National Weather Service
- Pennsylvania Department of Health: Public Health Preparedness
- Pennsylvania Emergency Preparedness Information
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
- U.S. Department of Energy
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- U.S. Fire Administration
- York City Bureau of Health