It's human nature. We hear about fires, floods, chemical spill evacuations, and other disasters and we think-- or hope-- it won't happen to us. If you've read this far, you've probably asked yourself some private questions. Where will your family be if disaster strikes? Will you be together or separated-- at home, at work, at school, or in the car? What do you do if basic services-- water, gas, electricity, telephones-- are cut off?
The National Weather Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the American Red Cross urge every family to develop a family disaster plan.
Know The Area If you're new to an area, get to know the major highways and roads which may be used for an evacuation. Unless you move to a hurricane area (obviously not in Wisconsin), evacuation routes probably are not clearly marked. Contact your local National Weather Service office, emergency management office, and American Red Cross chapter about what types of disasters could occur in your area and how you should respond.
Meet With Your Family Discuss the information you've gathered. Discuss what you would do if advised to evacuate.
Pick two places to meet: A spot outside your home, such as in case of fire; and a place away from your neighborhood in case you can't return home, such as a friend (not a neighbor), workplace, school, or church.
Choose an out-of-state relatives as a "family contact" for everyone to call if the family gets separated.
Turn Your Plan Into Action Post emergency telephone numbers by the phones. Teach children how and when to use 911 or your local emergency numbers.
Install safety features in your house, including at least one smoke detector on every floor, fire extinguishers, and a carbon monoxide (CO) detector. Purchase a weather radio. Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least three days (see information below about making a disaster supplies kit).
Keep important family documents in a waterproof container.
Learn basic safety measures, including how to use a fire extinguisher, and how and when to turn off water, gas, and electricity in your home. Ask your American Red Cross, YMCA, or YWCA about lessons for CPR and first aid.
Practice and Maintain Your Plan Quiz family members to make sure they remember the designated meeting places, phone numbers, family contact, and safety rules.
Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries twice a year. Replace stored food and water twice a year.
How to Make a Disaster Supplies Kit
Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers, such as backpacks or duffle bags. keep a smallerdisaster suplies kit in the trunk of your car.
A 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) + One change of clothing and footwear per person + One blanket or sleeping bag per person + First Aid kit, including prescription medicines + Emergency tools + Battery-powered weather radio, portable radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries + Extra set of car keys, credit card, and cash + Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.