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Family Emergency Plan and Supplies

Family Emergency Plan

An emergency – be it a natural disaster such as a flood or hurricane, a power outage or a terrorist act – can occur quickly and without warning.

You can become better prepared to protect yourself and your family by developing a family emergency plan.

Most importantly, emergencies may strike when you and your family are away from home, so take the time now to learn about plans at your workplace or anywhere else you and your family spend time. And most importantly, pay attention to the news.  Know your local radio and television stations that can provide you with up-to-date official information during an emergency.

The Dutchess County Emergency Management Division recommends you take the following steps to create an emergency plan:

  • Discuss with family members what they should do in the event of a disaster, such as a hurricane or severe storm.  Pick two places to meet:  a spot outside your home for an emergency, such as a fire, and a place away from your neighborhood in case you can’t return home.
  • Designate an out of area friend or relative whom separated family members should call to report their whereabouts.  Make certain all family members have the phone number.
  • Know how to contact all family members at all times.  Think 24/7/365.
  • Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
  • Check your home and property for potential hazards to see what actions need to be taken to ensure your safety and to protect your belongings.
  • Check your insurance coverage.  Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowner’s insurance.
  • Install safety features in your residence such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
  • Know how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity in your home.
  • Learn about  local sheltering plans.
  • Determine if your family has any special needs and develop a plan for meeting those needs.  For example:  If you have a family member on a life support system, does your electric utility know about it?
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones.
  • Teach all family members – including children – how and when to call 911 or your local EMS phone number.

Family Emergency Supplies

Often during an emergency, electricity, water, heat, air conditioning or telephone service may not work.  The Dutchess County Emergency Management Division advises that you should be prepared to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.

Use the checklist below to help you prepare for what you and your family will need.  Consider two kits.  In one put everything you will need to stay where you are.  The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you have to evacuate.

  • Flashlights with extra batteries.  Keep flashlights – with extra, fresh batteries -- beside your bed and in several other locations.  Do not use matches.
  • Portable radio or TV with extra batteries.  Most telephones will be out of order or limited to emergency use.  The radio -- including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio -- will be the best source of emergency.
  • First aid kit / first aid skills.  Keep your first aid kit well stocked and in a central location.  Take basic first aid and CPR courses.  Keep your skills current.
  • Fire extinguisher.  Your fire extinguisher should be suitable for all types of fires and should be easily accessible.  Teach all family members how to use it.
  • Food. Store a three-day supply of food for each person.  Items such as canned or dehydrated, non-perishable food, powdered milk and canned juices can be rotated into your daily diet and replenished on a regular basis.  Include food for infants or the elderly, snack foods and items such as a non-electric can opener, cooking utensils, paper/plastic plates and plastic utensils.
  • Water. Store a 3-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day).  Store in air tight containers and replace them every six months. Keep a disinfectant, such as iodine tablets or chlorine bleach, to purify water, if necessary.
  • Extra blankets and clothing may be required to keep warm.  Sturdy shoes protect feet from broken glass and debris.
  • Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.  Have at least a week’s supply of medications and foods for infants and those on special diets.
  • Toiletries, hygienic items and moisture wipes.
  • Tools.  Have a crescent or pipe wrench to turn off gas and water if necessary and know the location of the shut off valves.
  • Important documents – stored in a waterproof container – insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc. Also, checkbook, cash (in small bills), credit cards, ATM cards.