House destroyed during an earthquake (Photo from www.davidsurvival.com/tag/earthquakes/)
You should be prepared for disasters, large and small in order to ensure your safety, and those of your loved ones.
The Red Cross has given these guidelines to help public be prepared.
Develop a Communication Plan: It is often easier to make a long-distance call rather than a local call after a disaster. So identify an out-of-area contact who will serve as a central connection point.
Have everyone report his or her status to this contact, who will pass the information along to others.
Let your out-of-area contact know your communication plan. Keep local emergency contacts on hand for a smaller event such as a home fire.
Determine escape routes through your home, and know your neighborhood evacuation routes.
Decide where to meet after a disaster. Choose a place near home in case of sudden emergency, such as a house fire, and a second place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home. Learn the evacuation sites at work, school or day care.
Plan for your pets. Prepare a list of who can shelter them in an emergency.
If you have special needs, arrange for a neighbor, friend or relative to check on you in the event of an emergency.
Prepare a kit with enough supplies for your household for at least three days. Include any necessary items for pets, children, seniors and people with disabilities. Prepare kits for your home, workplace and car.
Your kit should include non-perishable food items, such as energy bars, canned soup or peanut butter; one gallon of water per person per day; first aid kit and medications; a flashlight, battery-operated or crank radio.
You should also have extra batteries, a wrench to shut off the gas in case of a leak, can opener, screwdriver, hammer, pliers, knife, duct tape and garbage bags.
Pack important documents, hygiene supplies and comfort items such as books and toys.
Carry cash in small denominations, and emergency contact information.
In case of an earthquake, drop and take cover under a heavy piece of furniture or against an interior wall or an open door. Protect your head, and hold on until the shaking stops. If outdoors, move away from buildings and trees.
Get out and stay out in case of fire. Check if doors are cool before opening them. Drop to the floor and crawl if there is smoke.
Evacuate immediately in case of flood. Move to higher ground away from rivers and streams, creeks and storm drains. Do not drive around barricades. If your car stalls in water, abandon it and climb to higher ground.
In case of a chemical spills and airborne hazards, stay in a shelter. Close and lock doors, windows and heating and cooling vents. Place wet towels or duct tape anywhere air may enter. Stay at ground level or above.
Obtain accurate information: Tune into 740 AM, 810 AM and 88.5 FM. Follow instructions from local officials.