Emergency Tips

Tips for Communicating in an Emergency

To ensure that your telephone call gets through to family, friends and loved-ones during an emergency or disaster, here are things to consider:

It is important for consumers to keep in mind that during an emergency, many more people are trying to use their wireless and wireline telephones at the same time when compared to normal calling activity. When more people try to call at the same time, the increased calling volume may create network congestion.

Recommended Practices

for All Users

  1. Limit non-emergency phone calls. This will minimize network congestion, free up “space” on the network for emergency communications and conserve battery power if you are using a wireless phone;
  2. Keep all phone calls brief. If you need to use a phone, try to use it only to convey vital information to emergency personnel and/or family;
  3. For non-emergency calls, try text messaging, also known as short messaging service (SMS) when using your wireless phone. In many cases text messages will go through when your call may not. It will also help free up more “space” for emergency ommunications on the telephone network;
  4. If possible try a variety of communications services if you are unsuccessful in getting through with one. For example, if you are unsuccessful in getting through on your wireless phone, try a messaging capability like text messaging or email. Alternatively, try a landline phone if one is available. This will help spread the communications demand over multiple networks and should reduce overall congestion;
  5. Wait 10 seconds before redialing a call. On many wireless handsets, to re-dial a number, you simply push “send” after you’ve ended a call to redial the previous number.  If you do this too quickly, the data from the handset to the cell sites do not have enough time to clear before you’ve resent the same data. This contributes to a clogged network;
  6. Have charged batteries and car-charger adapters available for backup power for your wireless phone;
  7. Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers in your phone;
  8. If in your vehicle, try to place calls while your vehicle is stationary;
  9. Have a family communications plan in place. Designate someone out of the area as a central contact, and make certain all family members know who to contact if they become separated;
  10. If you have Call Forwarding on your home number, forward your home number to your wireless number in the event of an evacuation. That way you will get incoming calls from your landline phone;
  11. After the storm has passed, if you lose power in your home, try using your car to charge cell hones or listen to news alerts on the car radio. But be careful – don’t try to reach your car if it is not safe to do so, and remain vigilant about carbon monoxide emissions from your car if it is a closed space, such as a garage.
  12. Tune-in to broadcast and radio news for important news alerts.

From the FCC – http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/emergency-information/tips.html

Top Ten Blizzard Tips

What are the necessary steps that hould be taken to prepare for a blizzard?

Most things are usually on hand but should be stocked up and easily accessible. If it turns out the blizzard has turned to rain or snow flurries by the time it reaches your area, at least you will have known you were ready.

If your city or town is in imminent danger of a very heavy snowfall or blizzard, most likely your local weather and news media have let you know in plenty of time. They will be issuing warnings and alerts and, again, should be taken seriously. Here are a few things to consider before the blizzard arrives:

1. Prepare for power outages and blocked roads. Winds, ice and snow tend to bring down power lines. Make sure that you have candles, matches or lighters, a battery operated radio, and emergency food supplies and tons of blankets. Think about where you’ll put candles to keep them lit and safe. Have plenty of food staples like powdered milk and protein bars. If your water supply depends on an electric pump, bottled water may be a good idea.

2. Staying warm when the power goes out may be a problem. Don’t think you’re immune if you don’t use electricity to heat your home. Many people don’t realize that their heating system depends on a boiler that is powered by electricity. Electric stoves and gas stoves that depend on electricity will be powerless if the storm knocks the lines down. Be prepared with alternative heat sources and plenty of blankets.

3. Traveling in a blizzard is just not a good idea. If you are on the road during a blizzard look for a hotel or motel nearby and stay off the road until driving conditions are safe again.

4. If you get stranded in your car during a bad snow storm be prepared with plenty of warm clothes and packaged snack foods. It may seem sensible to leave the engine running to keep warm, but it isn’t. The danger of carbon monoxide poisoning is high. Snow can block your exhaust pipe and fill the car with deadly fumes. Keeping one window open just a bit will help avoid this. If you keep the engine running you may run out of gas before the storm is over. A better idea is to run the engine in short bursts. Turn the engine on long to keep the car warm and then turn it off. Keep this routine up until the conditions are stable enough for you to get back on the road.

5.  Designate a spot, in the hall closet, to keep a bag of warm clothes for each person in the household. If the lights are out, it will be hard to find that really warm turtle neck or a pair of warm socks or gloves…in the dark. Count on the power being out for at least a day or two and have some board games and a deck of cards on hand. Arts and crafts are always fun for the kids (especially if there isn’t any television to distract them) so make sure you have some of those supplies easily available.

6.  Along with warm clothes and blankets, consider stocking your Blizzard Kit with the following: batteries, flash lights, battery operated radio/television, bottled water, toilet paper, nonperishable foods such as cereal or crackers, canned goods, a non electric can opener, a small cooler, candles, prescription medicines and any over-the-counter remedies you use regularly; and if you have young infants or toddlers – diapers, baby wipes, formula, baby food.

7.  Stock up on shovels and snow removal equipment before the snow storm. You may also want to cover the windows and spaces around the doors to keep drafts at a minimum in the event the heat shuts off.

8. If you live in an area that gets bad storms regularly consider investing in an emergency generator. Having an alternate source of power if the main lines go down can be a life saver.

9.  A cellular phone is a ‘hot’ commodity for the snowbound. If you have a cell phone, make sure it is charged and easy to find. Even if the phone and power lines go out you can get word out that you are stranded and need help.

10.  Finally, STAY INSIDE. However tempting it may be for kids to go out and make snow angels or play in the falling snow, use caution. Those blowing winds – both before and after a blizzard – are cold enough to cause frostbite, and snowdrifts may hide dangers children might otherwise see. Stay indoors where it’s safe, and warm!

Blizzards are serious business. Weather forecasters can only predict so much. Educate yourself and stay on top of the updates in your area. There is no harm in being overly cautious. In most cases where a blizzard is concerned, it truly is better to be safe than sorry

From Chiff.com http://www.chiff.com/a/blizzard-tips.htm

 

For winter weather emergencies, carry the following in your vehicle:

 

A bag of sand or kitty litter to help tires gain traction if you get stuck

• An extra bottle of windshield fluid that contains deicer

• A heavy blanket in case you get stuck without heat

• Granola bars, which last for months and won’t freeze solid

• A hand crank flashlight (we have one that also has a radio)

• The standard roadside emergency supplies (jumper cables, first aid supplies and road flares)

~ Thanks to AAA for this info

Food Safety from Good Housekeeping Magazine:

If you lose electricity for more than four hours, throw out perishable food in the refrigerator, including meat, dairy products, leftovers and cut fruits and vegetables. Uncut produce and condiments should be all right.

A fully stocked stand-alone freezer will keep its temperature for two days, a half full freezer will only last for one day. The freezer part of a refrigerator does not stay cold as long. Frozen foods are safe to eat of they are hard or icy, but meat and fish may lose texture. Throw away ice cream if it has melted. If you are unsure about any food, don’t taste it – throw it out!

 

 

Disaster Preparedness for Your Business

 

It has been estimated that 90% of small companies unable to resume business operations within 5 days of a disaster are out of business within 1 year.

Here’s a quick checklist to get you thinking about the information you need and the planning you need in place to recover from a disaster:

Simple Plans

• Printed manual stored safely away

• Names, addresses, and phone numbers of general staff members, patients, and vendors

• Location of the offsite data backup storage media

• Copies of insurance contracts, and other critical materials

Complex Plans

• Details of a secondary work site or means to establish new place of operation

• Technical requirements

• Regulatory reporting requirements

• Work recovery measures

• Means to reestablish physical records or new suppliers

Vital Records

Do you know:

• Where they are?

• What is included in them?

• How to get them?

• Who is authorized to retrieve them?

• How long it will take to retrieve them?

• Where to have them delivered?

• How long it will take to restore them?

Other Questions To Consider:

• Employees – How will people be taken care of ?

• Finance – How will recovery expenses and normal operating expenses be paid?

• Recovery Management – How and who will manage all the recovery efforts?

• Offsite Storage – How will storage and retrieval be handled?

• Alternate site location – Do you need one?

• Recovery Priorities – How critical equipment be replaced? Do you have pre-agreements?

• Logistics – How will logistical support for recovery (travel, food, etc.) be managed

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