According to a survey from Austin’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, less than 10 percent of Austinites are ready for an emergency or natural disaster.
“People just don’t think anything’s going to happen here,” explains spokesperson Candice Wade Cooper. “Even though Austin may not be prone to sudden emergencies like earthquakes or tsunamis, there are all kinds of things that can catch you off guard – flooding, fires, burglary. It’s important to be prepared.”
As the tenth anniversary of National Emergency Preparedness Month rolls around, it’s a good time to mind that advice. Though nothing can absolutely guarantee a person’s safety in the case of an emergency or national disaster, these four tips can reduce risk and even save lives.
1. Build a kit. The Federal Emergency Management Agency encourages people to stockpile enough food, water, and supplies to last your family for at least three days. FEMA says kits should also include flashlights, first aid supplies, and any prescription medications you or your family members might need.
2. Make a plan. Figure out an evacuation plan and designate a meeting place to reunite with family and loved ones if you’ve been separated. Be sure to program an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact number into your phone so that emergency responders will know how to get in touch with your family if they find you.
3. Be informed. Study up on the emergencies that could happen where you live and the appropriate actions to take if they do. You can sign up for local emergency notifications by registering your cellphone number here.
4. Get involved. Good neighbors make safe neighborhoods, and developing a strong community network is one of the simplest things you can do to ensure your family’s wellbeing. You can get to know your neighbors by joining a Community Emergency Response Team or signing up for a training series in your area today.