Plan to Protect Yourself & Your Family
By Andrew Wooten
Prepare yourself and your family for a disaster by making an emergency plan. Download the Family Emergency Plan (FEP) (PDF – 750Kb), print the pages and fill them in offline.
Replace your fire extinguishers.
Class A extinguishers are rated to work best on normal combustibles like wood and paper. Class B units are for gasoline, oil or grease fires, and Class C fire extinguishers are intended for electrical fires. Most homeowners should go for a combination fire extinguisher that can handle all three classes. As a supplement in a kitchen, consider adding a Class B/C extinguisher.
Replace your batteries for your smoke detectors.
You can buy smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms at hardware and home-improvement stores and online. Smoke alarms are relatively inexpensive, starting at about $15 for basic models. Carbon Monoxide alarms cost $35 and up. Check the package to make sure smoke alarms meet Underwriters Laboratories Standard 217 and CO alarms meet UL Standard 2034. Also look up the date of manufacture on the back of the alarms. These devices lose their sensitivity over time, so the fresher, the better.
Review your Basic Disaster Supplies
- Water: One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food: At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- 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
- Moist towelette’s, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Vehicle Safety – Every Time Before You Drive
Are there any leaks under the car? If so, you should not drive your car as you could have an accident due to brake or steering failure. Check your car’s directional signals, brake, head and taillights and mirrors.
How are your tires? Is any tire low or even flat? Are the treads of your tires worn? Your tires are your car’s connection to the road. And, are your windshield wipers working? Is there enough window cleaning fluid? Check/buy an emergency repair kit and plan for your weather, keeping a light jacket and pair of walking shoes in your car just makes sense. While you should have a emergency roadside protection program we don’t always have cell or satellite service.