September is National Preparedness Month, which aims to educate Americans on safety procedures for a variety of emergencies including natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Sponsored by FEMA, it highlights ways to prepare and respond to various scenarios in your community. We’ve taken advice from FEMA and other safety authorities to come up with a list of essential emergency procedures for Des Moines residents. Since our most pressing emergencies are natural disasters such as tornados and snow storms, we’ve collected the most relevant information for our area.
- Evacuation Routes – In case of an evacuation, locate the local evacuation routes or research convenient routes in advance. This link on Ready.gov has a lot of practical information on safe evacuation procedures.
- Shelter – In case of evacuation, there should be at least one designated shelter location that’s close to home. Whether it’s a local family member’s home or a library, it’s important that it is chosen in advance in case your household is scattered during the event. Though most everyone has a cell phone, you should plan for instances when communication is cut off. A designated shelter or meeting place will ensure everyone knows where to go.
- Outside Contact – In the event that cell networks aren’t working, there should be a designated person outside of town (preferably with a landline) who everyone knows to contact. By having a point of contact you will be able to alert family and friends that you are okay. The Red Cross has a free Safe and Well website, which performs a similar function.
- Special Considerations – Make sure that if you have people in your household that need medication, medical equipment or have specific diet needs, you plan in advance for their conditions. Infants will need formula, diabetics will need insulin and an elderly person might need a walker. These things are essential and will need to be secured before seeking shelter.
- Emergency Alerts – Sign up for emergency alerts on your smart phone, which will ensure you know about severe weather 24 hours a day. You might want to connect with an emergency network (such as #natlprep) on social media as well, but internet service might not be an option when disaster strikes.
- Emergency Kit – Put together an emergency kit with first aid supplies, flashlight and food and water for at least three days. Make sure that the kit is already put together and stored in a safe place.
- Learn Basic Medical Procedures – Learning CPR and other basic first aid measures will help in an emergency situation. Consider having the family take a first aid training course at the local YMCA or community center.
- Invest in Old School Tech – Having a landline or a portable, battery-operated radio will help you stay connected in the event of a power outage. Most everyone has a cell phone, but if there’s no power to charge it, having reception during the disaster will only go so far. A telephone landline will work independently of power (if the lines haven’t been compromised), as will an AM/FM radio.
Unless it’s an impending storm, emergencies generally happen unexpectedly, which is why it’s important to prepare for a variety of situations. Sign up to receive emergency alerts through the King County Regional Public Information and Notification and make sure that your household sees this list and is part of the safety conversation.
In addition to disaster prep, it also makes sense to prepare for problems with your HVAC system, which can be done with annual maintenance from Service Legends. Call us today if you need service or repair on your HVAC system.
Thank you for making Service Legends the #1 provider of residential heating and air conditioning in the Des Moines area. A live and friendly customer care representative is ready to take your call 24/7 at 515-COMFORT(515.266.3678).