Editor's Note: In the all-hazards model of emergency preparedness, this type of advice applies to natural as well as human caused incidents.
WASHINGTON– Hurricane Ike is expected to make landfall in Texas and parts of the Gulf of Mexico late Friday or early Saturday and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Ready Campaign (www.ready.gov) reminds residents about the importance of taking precautionary measures and listening to local officials. Specifically, the Ready Campaign encourages citizens to get an emergency supply kit, make an emergency plan, and to be informed about what to do if asked to evacuate.
“This is a deadly serious storm and residents in the likely impact area should treat it that way,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “I urge people to listen to their local officials, and if told to evacuate, do it immediately. For residents not in evacuation zones who are sheltering in place, you need to ensure you have supplies to sustain yourself and your family for at least three days. If you go outside, be careful of downed power lines and do not attempt to drive through flooded roads.”
Hurricanes often produce high winds, tornadoes, large amounts of rain and power outages that can affect citizens for days after the initial storm has passed. Therefore, it is important for residents to have at least a three-day supply of water for each individual in your family, including pets, along with non-perishable food, a first aid kit, battery-powered radio, extra batteries and a flashlight.
If asked to evacuate, make sure you have a “to go” bag ready. It should include all of the items listed above as well as:
Important documents such as proof residence, pictures of your family including pets, insurance policies, and tax records;
Comfortable clothing and blankets;
Unique family needs such as prescription medications, pet supplies, infant supplies or any other unique need your family may have
Plan to evacuate
Identify ahead of time several places you could go in an emergency, a friend's home in another town, a motel or public shelter.
If you do not have a car, plan alternate means of evacuating.
Take your “to go” bag
Take your pets with you, but understand that some shelters only take service animals.
Ready’s Web site, www.ready.gov, is a free resource where individuals can find an emergency supply checklist (www.ready.gov/america/getakit/kit-print.html), download an emergency plan (www.ready.gov/america/_downloads/familyemergencyplan.pd) and link to local information. Ready also has resources and tools available on its Web site to help business owners ensure their business plans stay up and running, talk to their employees and protect their assets. For information in Spanish, visit www.listo.gov. Individuals can also call 1-800-BE-READY or 1-888-SE-LISTO for more emergency preparedness information.