After a major disaster, it is unlikely that emergency response services will be able to immediately respond to everyone's needs, so it's important to be prepared to take care of yourself and your family. Plan to be on your own for at least the first three days (10 days is optimal).
The following steps will help you prepare for any emergency:
- Designate an out-of-area contact person. Try to select someone that is far enough away to not be affected by the same emergency. Provide this person with the names and contact information of the people you want to keep informed of your situation. Instruct family members to call this person and tell them where they are. Long distance phone service is often restored sooner than local service.
- Duplicate important documents and keep copies off-site, either in a safety deposit box or with someone you trust. Documents may include: passport, drivers license, social security card, wills, deeds, financial statements, insurance information, marriage license and prescriptions.
- Inventory valuables, in writing and with photographs or video. Keep copies of this information off-site with your other important documents.
- Make a household/family plan. Involve all key people in planning.
- Make your home safe.
- Put together a disaster supply kit. Plan to have supplies for yourself and your family for at least three days (10 days is optimal) following a disaster.