Managing a Disaster at Home
Managing a Disaster at Home
Although you may not be asked to evacuate—and even if you are—disasters can isolate you from outside help and make it necessary for you to care for yourself for days at a time. Your disaster supply kit (see page 3) will contain many of the tools and supplies you need. Here are other ways to use and manage the resources you have at your home.
· Water is crucial for health and survival. If a disaster is imminent, fill pitchers, jars, buckets, water bottles and your bathtub in case your community water supply is cut off.
· If your drinking water supply is running low, use water from ice cube trays, the water heater and toilet tanks (but not bowls). It is not safe to use the water from radiators, waterbeds or swimming pools.
· Each person should drink at least two quarts of water each day. Drink what you need each day, and look for more water for the next day.
· Ration food supplies for everyone except children and pregnant women. Most people can survive easily on half the normal amount.
· Avoid eating food from dented or swollen cans or food that looks or smells abnormal.
· Use pre-prepared formula for babies.
In case the power goes out
· Practice energy conservation to help your power company avoid rolling blackouts.
· Always keep your car's fuel tank at least half full gas stations use electricity to operate pumps.
· Know how to manually release your electric garage door.
· Protect your computer with a surge protector.
· If the power goes out, check your fuse box or circuit breaker, or contact neighbors to see if the outage is limited to your own home.
· Turn off computers, stereos, televisions and appliances you were using when the power went off. Leave one light turned on so you know when power is restored.
· Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer doors. Food will remain fresh for up to four hours after the power goes off. If you know power outages may happen, freeze water in plastic bottles to keep food cool longer.
· If the outage is expected to last for several days or more, consider relocating to a shelter or a friend's home.
Using a Generator
If you plan to use a generator, operate it outside only—not in the basement or garage. Do not hook it up directly to your home's wiring. Instead, connect the equipment and appliances you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
What to Do after a Disaster
Whether returning home or venturing outside for the first time, beware of new dangers that may have arisen because of the disaster. You may experience washed-out roads, downed power poles, contaminated drinking water or other hazards. Report problems promptly to local officials so that corrective measures can be taken.
Inspect your home for damage
· Look for structural damage, loose or damaged electrical wires, and gas leaks before re-entering your home. If you doubt the safety of the structure, contact a professional before entering.
· Do not enter a fire-damaged house until authorities have inspected it.
· Check the refrigerator and discard spoiled food.
· Contact your insurance agent.
Help Children Cope
A child can be traumatized by a disaster whether it is experienced first-hand, seen on television or learned about from adults. Monitor the nature and quantity of disaster-related programming your children are exposed to and contact your school to determine how teachers are dealing with the situation.
If your children have questions about the disaster, answer them truthfully, but don't allow the subject to dominate your conversations. Provide reassuring words and affection.