Disaster preparedness requires more than a "one size fits all" emergency plan. Disaster officials from the commonwealth and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommend that residents make sure their home has a disaster supply kit and a family communication plan so they will be disaster ready when the next severe storm comes.
"Early preparations will help Kentucky residents be ready in the event of a natural or man-made disaster," said Kentucky Division of Emergency Management Director Gen. John W. Heltzel. "Every household should have a three to seven-day supply of food and water. Disaster supply kits are a central aspect of preparedness."
A Disaster Supply Kit should contain the following:
Water - at least one gallon per person for three to seven days
Food - at least enough for three to seven days: non-perishable packaged or canned food; juices; foods for infants or the elderly; snack food; non-electric can opener; cooking utensils; fuel; paper plates and plastic utensils
Blankets and pillows
Clothing - seasonal, rain gear, sturdy shoes
Medical supplies - first aid kit, medicines, prescription drugs, a spare set of eye glasses
Special Items - for infants and the elderly
Toiletries - toilet paper, hygiene items and plastic bags for sanitary disposal
Moisture wipes and anti-bacterial hand sanitizer
Flashlight - extra batteries
Radio - battery-operated and NOAA weather radio
Cash - Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods.
Important documents - in a waterproof container: insurance, medical records, bank and credit card account numbers, birth certificates, social security card
Toys, books and games
Pet care items: proper identification, immunization records, ample supply of food and water, a carrier or cage, medications, muzzle and leash
When storing the supplies, keep them easily accessible in case of an evacuation.
"Don't wait to start preparing," said Federal Coordinating Officer Kim Kadesch. "Make sure you are well prepared and that you will be able to cope better with the storm's effects."
Keep a full tank of gasoline in your car. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and may be unable to pump gas during power outages.
Plan to take one car per family to stay together and reduce highway congestion and delay. Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet. Choose a meeting location. Should your family become separated during a storm, have a pre-determined point at which everyone can rejoin the family; identify an in-state and out of state contact, such as a family member or friend; share your emergency plan with those contacts.
Know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Locate the safest areas in your home. In certain circumstances the safest areas may not be your own home but another within your community.
Simple actions can lower your chances of property losses and help to keep your family safe.
Preparing Your Home:
- Keep your sump pump in good working order;
- Clean out debris from gutters and downspouts regularly so rain water can flow through;
- Keep fuel tanks anchored to prevent them from floating away and possibly causing harm;
- Raise electrical items like switches, circuit breakers, and wiring at least 12 inches above the point flood waters might reach;
- If possible, raise the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer onto cement blocks at least 12 inches above the point flood water might reach.
Keeping Records Safe:
- Create a file with your personal information in it. Keep the information in a safe deposit box or in a waterproof container in your home. The file should contain,
- a copy of your deed if you own real estate;
- life and property insurance policies; and your agent’s contact information;
- financial records and bank account numbers;
- an inventory of your possessions;
- photographs of each room and its contents;
- critical documents like wills, trusts and medical directives.
“Having a personal or family emergency plan is a must, but you must exercise, or practice, and revise your plan periodically for it to remain effective,” said Buddy Rogers, KYEM information officer.
Preparing Your Business
For businesses, your specific business disaster plan will depend on your particular industry, size and scope of operation. Regardless of the size or type of your business, there are some common elements to almost all plans. Employee safety is your first consideration; second is the protection of critical data, such as employee, customer and vendor records, and company inventory. You will also want a crisis communication plan that details how you will stay in contact with employees, customers and others during and after a disaster.
Learn ways to protect yourself, family or business at:
Kentucky Office of Homeland Security Community Preparedness -http://homelandsecurity.ky.gov/community/
National Weather Service Preparedness - www.crh.noaa.gov/lmk/?n=preparedness
Preparedness For Kids - www.fema.gov/kids/
Preparedness for Individuals and Families - www.ready.gov
Emergency Safety Tips - http://workplace.stargazer.org/lwp/workplace/forms
Kentucky Division of Emergency Management - www.kyem.ky.gov
FEMA provides a step-by-step approach to emergency planning, response and recovery for companies of all sizes in its Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry in the FEMA publication library at www.fema.gov. Additional preparedness information can be found at the Department of Homeland Security's site: www.ready.gov/business. The U.S. Small Business Administration also has a preparedness guide for business at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance; search for "disaster planning guide".