Be prepared at home

Be prepared at home. There are plenty of things you can do right now.

  • Place a flashlight or an emergency light next to your breaker panel.
  • Place a wrench in your water meter box located near the street.
  • Place or attach a tool on your gas meter for turning off the gas.
  • Evaluate each room in your house. Ask yourself: what will fall on my head, or will keep me from getting out if it fell? Secure anything you find. Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.
  • Fasten shelves securely to walls and place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
  • Store household chemicals on a bottom shelf of a closed cabinet.
  • Never store bleach and ammonia in the same cabinet. These chemicals, when mixed, will create a toxic gas as deadly as any ever created.
  • Identify the best and worst places to be in your house. Remember that you might not have any choice as to where you will be located when a disaster strikes. The best places inside the house are under major beams that are secured to the rest of the structure, or in strong doorways, or inner structural walls. The worst places are in front of windows, or near fireplaces and chimneys.
  • Make an emergency plan including escape routes and meeting places. Choose both a nearby meeting place and an out of state relative to be your check in contact for the family.
  • Test your emergency plan with all members of the family present.
  • Plug emergency lighting into selected outlets. (These flashlights are constantly charged, and turn on automatically when power fails, or when the units are unplugged.)
  • Keep all tree and shrub limbs trimmed so they don’t come in contact with wires.
  • Keep trees adjacent to buildings free of dead or dying wood.
  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and near sleeping areas.
  • Store combustible or flammable materials in approved safety containers and keep them away from the house.
  • Find out where the utility shutoffs are for water, power, and gas.

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