How to Prepare for a Natural Disaster

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Fortunately for us, New Jersey isn’t known to experience many natural disasters. There aren’t any fault lines that cause earthquakes, tornadoes are few and far between, and the ocean breeze keeps the weather somewhat temperate. That doesn’t mean that natural disasters don’t happen here at home at all. Because they are less frequent, it’s a good idea to discuss an action plan with your family, to make sure that everyone stays safe in the event of a natural disaster.

  1.    Make an Emergency Supplies Kit. In a pinch, you might need to quickly evacuate; that means there’s no time for scrambling around grabbing important supplies or food. Keep the following items in a designated container in an easy-to-reach place in the case of an emergency:
  • Three-day’s worth of non-perishable, ready-to-eat food
  • Three-day’s worth of water. You should have about 1 gallon for every family member per day.
  • A flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • A few toiletries
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • One-week supply of prescription medications
  1.    Make a plan: Talk with your family members and other loved ones about how to respond in an emergency event. Choose an established meeting place outside the home for everyone to meet. Remember: during disasters, cell phones and other means of communication may not be possible. Make sure that everyone understands where the meeting place is located, and that each person knows how to get there.
  2.  Have an emergency contact: Choose an out-of-state contact that family members can call to check on each other in case of a local disaster. The out-of-state friend or family member can be the point of contact so everyone knows that each family member is safe. Make sure that each family member has that person’s contact information.
  3.  Complete a contact card of everyone’s information to keep on your person at all times. It should include:
  • Phone (Work, cell, etc)
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Medical providers
  • School/work (if applicable)
  1.     Practice: Once you have a designated plan, do a run-through to make sure everyone is on the same page. This can also help you fix any kinks in the plan that pop up as you do a practice-run.
  2.     Find safe spaces in your home for different types of disasters. During a tornado, you’ll want to find a space that is low and away from any windows. Have everyone in the family learn how to turn off the water, electricity, and gas to stay protected. Each of these should be an easy lever to switch on and off. If you cannot find or operate it, call a plumber (or other technician) for help.
  3.     Show each family member how to operate the fire extinguisher and keep it within close range.
  4.     Stay informed: Know what different emergency sirens and warnings mean. Take evacuation emergencies seriously. Do not wait or hesitate. The weather is unpredictable. Even though it may not be threatening when the advisory comes, you should listen to the experts and stay safe by evacuating immediately.

By having a clear plan for the different emergencies that can arise, you will be better prepared to handle the unpredictable. Remember that the safety of you and your loved ones is more important than anything you own. Take a few minutes out of your day to protect your family today.

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