An emergency action plan can reduce the impact of an emergency situation. Making a plan will ensure that you and your family members know what to do and who to call.
Tips to get you started
Reduce hazards in your home and have an evacuation plan.
Sit down with your family and discuss what to do during an emergency. Where would you go? What would you need? Where would you meet?
If you have children, make sure they know when to call 9-1-1.
Have a family reunion plan. Designate a common meeting place outside your community. Everyone should check in with an out-of-town friend or relative. Though phone landlines and mobile networks may be overloaded, often a text message will go through.
Ensure that you have a place to stay in case you are evacuated from your home. You should have at least one friend or relative in your city who can help you and your family in an emergency and at least one out-of-town friend or relative who would also be willing. Keep the contact information for these friends or relatives in your 72-hour kit.
Make a 72-hour emergency preparedness kit. Include copies of important documents and emergency contacts. Store more copies in a second location, such as at work or in your vehicle.
You may be instructed to "shelter-in-place" if chemical, biological or radiological contaminants are released into the environment. This means you must remain inside your home or office and protect yourself there. The following steps will help maximize your protection:
Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
Turn off all fans, heating and air-conditioning systems to avoid drawing in air from the outside.
Close the fireplace damper.
Get your 72 hour emergency kit and make sure the radio is working.
Go to an interior room that's above ground level (if possible, one without windows). In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed.
Using duct or other wide tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room.
Continue to monitor your radio or television until you are told all is safe or are advised to evacuate.
If you are in a house during a Tornado
Go to the basement or take shelter in a small interior ground floor room such as a bathroom, closet or hallway.
If you have no basement, protect yourself by taking shelter under a heavy table or desk.
In all cases, stay away from windows, outside walls and doors
If you are in an office or apartment building
Take shelter in an inner hallway or room, ideally in the basement or on the ground floor.
Do not use the elevator.
Stay away from windows.
If you are in a gymnasium, church or auditorium
Large buildings with wide-span roofs may collapse if a tornado hits.
If possible, find shelter in another building.
If you are in one of these buildings and cannot leave, take cover under a sturdy structure such as a table or desk.