This observation serves as an annual reminder that we all must take action to prepare, now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and also where we visit.
Is your family ready for a disaster?
In East Tennessee, the types of incidents that are most likely to occur are:
- Severe weather – storms, snow, ice, flooding
- Hazardous materials accidents by truck, rail or at a facility
- Severe illness – outbreaks such as the flu or other disease
- Residential fire
Some of the most important things you and your family can do to be prepared for a disaster is to have an Emergency Supply Kit in your home and have and rehearse an Emergency Communication Plan for your family. To find both of these in an easy-to-use app, search “FEMA” in your smartphone.
Emergency Supply Kit List
- Water – one gallon per person per day for at least three days (for drinking and sanitation)
- Food – at least a three-day supply per person (non-perishable)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
- Moist towellettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food if kit contains canned food
- Local maps
Additional items to consider adding to an Emergency Supply Kit
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproff, portable container
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
- Emergency reference materials such as a first aid book and information from www.ready.gov
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate
- Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household cholorine bleach and medicine dropper (When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.)
- Fire extenquisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine hygeine products and personal hygeine items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensiles, paper towels
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
- Cell phone charger
This list should be adapted to suit your personal family needs. You should also consider having at least two emergency supply kits, one full kit at home and a smaller, portable kit in your workplace or vehicle.
Emergency Communications Plan
- Choose an emergency contact person, a friend or family member that lives in another city or state. Get that person’s cell, home and work numbers and email address. In the event that family members are separated during a disaster, everyone should call the emergency contact person and check in.
- Draw the floor plan of your home. Show the locations of exits (doors and windows) and map out escape routes, and practice exiting the building. Mark the locations of emergency supplies and utilties.
- In the case of a fire, choose a place outside of your home for your family to meet (mailbox, end of driveway, etc.).
- Choose a second meeting location outside your neighborhood in the event you cannot get back to your home.
- Enter all this information in everyone’s cell phone under “Contacts.” You can label it “Emergency Procedures.” Discuss your plan in detail with all of your family members to decrease confusion in the case of a disaster.
If you have questions or would like to speak to someone in the Knox County Health Department’s Emergency Preparedness division, please call 865-215-5093 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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