September is recognized as National Preparedness Month, which serves as a reminder that we all must take action to prepare, now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and play. In an effort to educate and prepare the community, the City of Aliso Viejo will send out weekly preparedness messages throughout the month. This first message echoes this year’s preparedness theme of “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”
It’s essential to plan in advance how you will contact family members and what you will do in in an emergency. Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the emergency, the first important decision is whether you stay where you are or evacuate. Understand and plan for both possibilities.
These actions will help you plan for emergencies:
* Identify an out-of-town contact for every member of your household. Phone lines are often busy or out of service during major disasters, and it may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town.
* Equip your family with the contact’s phone number and a cell phone or prepaid phone card. Program your emergency contact as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know. You can also add a designated “Home” or “Work” entry so that these phone numbers can be easily accessed in an emergency situation.
* Teach family members how to use text messaging. This tactic can be used when network disruptions prevent a phone call from connecting.
*Empower your kids to become part of the emergency planning process. Quiz kids about the family plan at dinner. Explain where the family will reunite after an emergency. Shop for your emergency supply kit with the kids. Be sure they know where the kits are stored.
For more information, visit readyoc.org/prepare/plan.html.