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      Planning Ahead for Disastrous Events

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      Home or work routines can be disrupted with little or nowarning by natural disasters, fires or other catastrophic events. It'simportant to be prepared as help may not always beimmediately available.

      During large community wide emergencies, first responders -- police,fire and emergency medical services -- may be overwhelmed with numerous calls forhelp or even physically unable to reach your location due to blocked roads.

      Man-made and natural hazards occur routinely in the UnitedStates. On average, nearly 70 federal disaster declarations are issuedannually. It is important to identify and learn about the hazards most likelyto occur in your community. Make a plan and share this information with yourloved ones to prevent needless confusion and worry.

      • Determine the safest course of action for youand your family for each hazard. In some situations, it may be better to staywhere you are. This would be necessary during a tornado or hazardous chemicalrelease, for example. Sometimes, leaving an area to escapedanger or evacuation is the safer course of action in situations such as a fireor hurricane.
      • Stay informed. Know how your community alertscitizens in an emergency. It may be an emergency broadcast on the radio or TV.You might hear a special siren, or get a telephone call, or emergency workersmay go door-to-door. If available, sign up for your community's emergency textor email alert system.
      • Plan for your family's comfort during disasters.Severe weather, earthquakes, flooding and other emergencies may cause utilityoutages. Prepare a kit that can meet your household's basic needs (food, water,etc.) for 72 hours. Don't forget a kit for your car.
      • Practice with your family what to do in anemergency. Conduct regular drills for the most common hazards such as a fire,tornado or earthquake.
      • Know how to keep in touch. Local telephoneservice may be interrupted. Sometimes, it is easier to send a text message orcontact a family member in another state. Each family member should know how tomake contact to advise that they are safe.

      For more information, go to http://www.ready.gov/.

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