as we enter the 2011 hurricane season, which experts are predicting to be very active, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is offering personal preparedness tips for the all of the citizens of the commonwealth.
“every home and business should have a stocked basic emergency supply kit that could be used for any emergency, regardless of the time of year,” MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz said. “Everyone should keep certain items around the house and workplace in the event you are isolated for three to five days without power.”
this kit will be unique to each family, but should include the essentials: a portable radio; flashlight; extra batteries; a supply of nonperishable foods, along with bottled water, a first-aid kit and extra prescription medication, if necessary.
“all families should develop a family emergency communication plan to help ensure everyone is safe. you should contact your local authorities to learn about your community’s potential evacuation routes and the location of emergency shelters,” Schwartz said. “It is important to familiarize yourself with your community’s emergency plans before an emergency situation occurs.”
Develop a disaster supply kit “go Bag” of essentials, in case you must evacuate quickly.
Suggested all hazards disaster supplies
Canned goods and nonperishable foods(particularly those that do not need cooking)
Canned meats and fish
Canned fruits and vegetables
Canned soups and puddings
Dried fruit and nuts
Bread, cookies and crackers
Peanut butter and jelly
Manual can opener
Bottled water (one gallon per person/per day)
Prescription medication (two-week supply)
Water purification tablets (halazone)
Disposable plates, cups and utensils
Infant care items, such as disposable diapers, baby wipes, baby food and formula
Masking and duct tape
Flashlight or lantern, with extra batteries
Battery operated radio, with extra batteries
Cell phone with charger
Watch or battery-operated clock
Canned heat (sterno)
Portable outdoor camping stove or grill with fuel supply
Important documents (wills, deeds, prescriptions, passports, birth certificates, health record, proof of address, Social Security number)
Plastic sheeting or tarp
Personal hygiene items
Other useful items include work gloves, sun lotion, insect repellent, hammer, screwdriver, pliers, wrenches, handsaw, razor knife, ax or chainsaw, rope caulking, nails and screws, rope and wire, broom, mop and bucket, all-purpose cleaner, ladder, sandbags, tree pruner, shovel, rake and wheelbarrow, sheets of plywood.
Family emergency communications plan
Develop a family emergency communications plan in case family members are separated from one another during an emergency (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school, camp or at a friend’s house). this plan should also address reunification after the immediate crisis passes.
ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the family’s emergency communications plan contact person. during and immediately after a disaster occurs, it is often easier to access a long distance telephone number than a local one. Also, calling outside a disaster area is usually easier than calling into the same area.
Make sure everyone knows the name, address and telephone number of the family emergency communications plan contact person.
Designate two meeting areas for family members – one within your community (your primary location), and one outside of your community (your alternate location). Sometimes an emergency could impact your neighborhood or small section of the community, so a second location outside of your community would be more accessible to all family members.
A family emergency communications plan can help reassure everyone’s safety and minimize the stress associated with emergencies.
Educate yourself and your family about emergency plans for your community, place of business and your child’s school or camp. know what potential risks your community and neighborhood are susceptible to in a hurricane, such as storm surge, flooding, road or bridge closures, etc. Carefully monitor the media and promptly follow instructions from public safety officials as a storm approaches.
MEMA is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in Massachusetts. MEMA provides leadership to: develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats; train emergency personnel to protect the public; provide information to the citizenry; and assist individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate against, prepare for, and respond to and recover from emergencies, both natural and manmade. for additional information about MEMA and hurricane preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema. Follow MEMA updates on Facebook and Twitter.