UDK Disaster Preparedness
Our team of experts will be there soon, but your health and safety are our main priorities. Download your own “Family Emergency Plan” at www.BeReadyUtah.gov. While you wait for help to arrive, follow these tips to keep you protected while facilitating a more rapid recovery:
- Discuss preparedness with your family
- Identify an out-of-state contact in case you are separated. Long-distance calls may work when local calls do not
- Teach children how and when to call 911 Post emergency contact numbers near phones in your home
- Teach children how to use a cell phone
- Determine two escape routes from each room in your home
- Pick three places to meet – One right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, pick a location in your neighborhood if your property isn’t safe and a regional meeting place if you can’t return home
Make a Plan
- Water will keep you alive. If you have enough water, you can live on half of your normal food intake. Make sure to store at least one gallon of water per person per day and store enough water to last two weeks.
- People in hot environments, children, people who are ill and nursing mothers should store more.
- Rotate your water supply every six months.
- Other sources of water in your home: water heater, ice cubes, pipes and toilet tank (not the bowl)
Unlike water, food can be rationed. Store at least a three- to five-day supply of non-perishable food in a dry place where the temperature is not above 70 degrees.
Select foods that require little or no preparation, water or refrigeration. Select foods that are high in calories, nutritious, compact and lightweight. Choose foods your family will eat.
Suggestions: Canned juices, canned milk, ready-to-eat foods, high-energy foods, vitamins.
If sewer lines break in an earthquake, where do you go to the bathroom? That can be a scary thought. See what we’re talking about when we say “disruption?”
- Here are supplies you can have on hand if the toilet isn’t working:
- Medium-sized plastic bucket with a tight lid
- Household chlorine bleach
- Toilet paper
- Plastic garbage bags and ties (heavy duty)
- Soap, liquid detergent
If sewer lines are broken and your toilet bowl is usable, place a garbage bag inside the bowl.
Or build a makeshift toilet:
- Line a medium-sized bucket with a garbage bag
- Make a toilet seat out of two boards placed parallel to each other across the bucket or use an old toilet seat
- After each use, pour a disinfectant, such as bleach, into the container
- Cover the container tightly when not in use
- Waste disposal
- Bury garbage and human waste to avoid the spread of disease by rats and insects
- Dig a pit 2 to 3 feet deep and at least 50 feet downhill or away from any well, spring or water supply
People with disabilities or access and functional needs, or their families, need to take extra precautions when preparing for a disaster. Plan for a buddy who can help with evacuations in case a usual caregiver is unable to help. Join the Special Needs Registry and update your information if you move. www.specialneedsutah.org
Extra supplies may include:
- Prescription medications
- A record of their doses and frequency taken
- Prosthetic devices
- List of medical devices, styles and serial numbers
- Extra eye glasses and prescription
- Extra oxygen
- Extra pillows bedding
- Medical insurance and Medicare cardsI
- Backup power supply or generators for heat or air conditioning
- Extra wheelchair batteries
- Hearing aids, batteries
Pets are an important member of your family. Plan for them as well. Remember that emergency shelters typically do not allow animals. Only service animals are allowed in shelters. The Utah Emergency Animal Response Coalition may be able to respond to a shelter with an animal trailer. www.uearc.org.
But you should know safe places to keep your pets if you have to evacuate with them. Where are hotels and motels outside of your area that accept pets? What friends or family members could keep them for you? Which boarding facilities, veterinarians or shelters could be used?
Your water heater can be a critical source of water in an emergency, but only if it’s still standing. Go to your home improvement store of choice and buy the metal straps to secure the water heater to nearby studs.
A falling water heater can break gas lines and water lines or spill your precious water.
If you have natural gas coming into your home, it’s easy to turn off, but not so much for turning it back on. Only qualified people should turn gas back on.
When you should shut off your gas meter:
- You smell natural gas
- You hear gas leaking
- There is a fire (unless shutting off the gas would jeopardize your safety)
- If you need to shut off the gas, use a wrench to turn the valve a quarter turn in either direction
- Take some time to become familiar with which utilities enter your home and where they can be shut off. As you practice emergency plans, locate and map the gas, water and electricity mains. During family drills, go through the movements, but do not practice shutting off gas lines.