Devastating acts, such as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon, have left many concerned about the possibility of
future incidents in the United States and their potential impact. They have
raised uncertainty about what might happen next, increasing stress levels.
Nevertheless, there are things you can do to prepare for the unexpected and
reduce the stress that you may feel now and later should another emergency
arise. Taking preparatory action can reassure you and your family that you can
exert a measure of control even in the face of such events.
What You Can Do To
Finding out what can happen is the first step. Once you have determined
the events possible and their potential in your community, it is important that
you discuss them with your family or household. Develop a disaster plan
• Create an Emergency Communications Plan
Choose an out-of-town
contact your family or household will call or e-mail to check on each other
should a disaster occur. Your selected contact should live far enough away that
they would be unlikely to be directly affected by the same event, and they
should know they are the chosen contact. Make sure every household member has
the contact's, and each others, e-mail address and telephone numbers (home,
work, pager and cell). Your family should know that if telephones are not
working, they need to be patient and try again later or try e-mail. Many people
flood the telephone lines when emergencies happen but e-mail can sometimes get
through when calls don't.
• Establish a Meeting Place
Having a predetermined
meeting place away from your home will save time and minimize confusion should
your home be affected or the area evacuated. You may even want to make
arrangements to stay with a family member or friend in case of an emergency. Be
sure to include any pets in these plans, since pets are not permitted in
shelters and some hotels will not accept them.
• Assemble a Disaster Supplies
If you need to evacuate your home or are asked to "shelter in place",
having some essential supplies on hand will make you and your family more
1. Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit in an easy-to-carry container
such as a duffel bag or small plastic trash can.
2. Include "special needs"
items for any household member (items for people with disabilities or older
people), first aid supplies (including prescription medications), a change of
clothing for each person, a sleeping bag or bedroll for each person, a battery
powered radio or television and extra batteries, food, bottled water and tools.
3. It is also a good idea to include some cash and copies of important family
documents (birth certificates, passports and licenses) in your kit.