Disaster Planning Tips: Create a Family Disaster Plan
Emergency preparednessAn Emergency Preparedness guide is available at cityofirving.org/oem to assist residents in preparing for potential disasters. The guide includes information about the most threatening natural and man-made disasters in North Texas. By being prepared, residents will be able to act with confidence and help neighbors should an emergency arise. For more information, call (972) 721-2100.
Outdoor Warning System Reminder
If sirens are activated during inclement weather:
• DO – Take cover inside a building on the first floor, in an interior room, a closet or a bathroom that does not have any windows.
• DO NOT – Call 911, police or fire dispatch for information. If there is inclement weather in the area and the sirens are activated, assume there is the possibility of a tornado and take cover immediately.
• Tornado Warnings – A steady tone means a tornado warning. Sirens will be activated when there is a threat of a tornado in the area.
• Siren Testing – The sirens are tested on the first Wednesday of every month at 1 p.m. unless the sky is overcast or there is inclement weather in the area.
• Meet with family members and discuss the need to prepare for a disaster.
• Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.
• Pick two places to meet.
• Develop an emergency communication plan.
• Ask an out-of-town relative or friend to be a “family contact.”
• Discuss what to do if authorities request evacuation.
• Be familiar with escape routes.
• Plan how to take care of pets.
A. Disaster Kit
The kit should include enough supplies to meet needs for at least three days. Store supplies in a sturdy, easy to carry, water-resistant container. Keep a smaller kit in the car trunk. The disaster supply kit should include:
• A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person, per day) and food that will not spoil. • One change of clothing and footwear per person.
• One blanket or sleeping bag per person.
• A first aid kit, including prescription medicines.
• Emergency tools, including a battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
• An extra set of car keys.
• Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
• An extra pair of glasses.
• Those who take medicine will need enough on hand to make it for at least a week. Keep a copy of prescriptions and dosage information. If a weeklong supply is not possible, keep as much on hand as possible and talk to a doctor about what else should be done to prepare.
• Auto emergency kits should contain at a minimum: blankets and warm clothing, booster cables and tools, bottled water, canned fruits and nuts, first aid kit, flashlight and batteries, traction mats or chains, a shovel, and emergency prescription medication.
B. Safe Room
When severe weather threatens, individuals and families need protection from the dangerous forces of extreme winds. Specific guidance is available from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by calling the Office of Emergency Management at (972) 721-2100. Ask for information on the construction of a residential safe room.
C. Evacuation Plans
Plan how to escape from the house in the event of an emergency. Identify at least two exits from each room. Clear doors, hallways and stairs of obstructions. Conduct emergency drills.
D. Driving Tips
Disaster driving is one part preparedness, one part common sense, and one part learning from experience. For example:
• Be aware of the changed environment, and stay away from downed power poles.
• Don’t attempt to drive through water.
• If possible, avoid driving in severe winter storms, but if caught in a storm and the car becomes immobilized, stay in vehicle and wait for rescue.
To learn more about how to prepare for severe weather conditions, visit any Irving library and check out the free DVD produced by the Office of Emergency Management. For other emergency preparedness materials, call FEMA at (800) 480-2520, or visit ready.gov or knowhat2do.com.
Posted March 19