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Confusion is the number one thing to avoid in any emergency; to keep your family safe, be ready before emergencies strike.
Start by assembling a home emergency kit.
You'll need one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, a three-day supply of non-perishable food plus a non-electric can opener, battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, NOAA Weather Radio, flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit with medicines, emergency whistle, dust masks, moist towelettes, garbage bags, wrench or pliers, cell phone with charger, inverter, or solar charger, sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and make sure batteries are charged.
Tip: Change alarm batteries when time changes in spring and fall.
Install two-bulb floodlights high enough that no one can reach them from the ground. Label floodlight switches inside.
Create and practice family escape plans for fire and flood.
Post maps of escape routes in all bedrooms.
Choose an outside rendezvous place for all family members.
If you don't have a secure basement, monitor extreme weather warnings and allow time to evacuate to a shelter.
Label all emergency cut-offs and make sure family members know how to operate them: include water main and cut-off valves for toilets, sinks, washer, and dishwasher.
Test electrical breakers and label main breaker and locations controlled by individual breakers.
Post emergency numbers beside landline telephones and program into all cell phones.
Designate a secure cabinet for storing poisons. Label every container of poison with a secure label.
Label safety features on power tools so someone not familiar with controls could lend a hand in an emergency.
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