Do you know what to do during a disaster? Do you have an evacuation plan? With the flooding experienced in Texas and earthquakes in Oklahoma, not to mention threats of a Zombie apocalypse —real or perceived, residents of Dallas-Fort Worth should follow the long-held Boy Scout motto and “be prepared.”
Fortunately for you, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has been named as the best city for evacuation in the country. A PT&C|LWG Forensic Consulting study ranked the top ten cities from best to worst regarding preparedness, ability to evacuate large numbers of people, geographic barriers, and density of population. No surprise, Texas leads the way with Houston coming in second.
This is wonderful news, but what about emergencies in which evacuation wasn’t required. How would you fare? Here are a few tips from Homeland Security and Emergency Management to help you get started on a family preparedness plan for the top four most likely disasters, tornadoes, floods, fire, and earthquakes.
General Preparedness Tips
- Store critical supplies (eg., medication, water, extra power supplies, batteries, and important documents) in an area that is easy to reach.
- Plan how to communicate with family members. Have multiple ways and numbers to reach each member of the family.
- Have a predesignated meeting area in your home.
- Pick an out-of-state contact for family members to call in case of separation.
- Prepare a disaster supply kit for your vehicle.
- Know the evacuation routes for your area.
Tornado Preparedness Tips
- Listen to the radio and news broadcast and for any instructions given by emergency management officials.
- Be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Know the danger signs, large hail, dark or green skies, the rotating movement of clouds and wind, loud roaring wind.
- Take cover in the lowest level of the building in an area that is in the center of the room — away from windows and outside doors.
- If unable to reach the ground floor seek shelter in an interior room or hallway.
- Do not open windows.
- If driving, do not leave your vehicle. Cover your head and fasten seatbelts.
Flood Preparedness Tips
- In your car, “turn around — do not drown.®”
- Do not walk through standing water or moving water.
- During a flood watch stay alert to rapidly changing water levels and evacuate if needed.
- Go to higher ground.
- If instructed, turn off your gas and electricity at the main source.
Fire Preparedness Tips
- Make sure each member of the household knows at least two ways to get out of each room in the home.
- Have a collapsible ladder available near upper story windows.
- Make sure windows will open, are not stuck, painted or nailed shut.
- Maintain smoke alarms.
- Sleep with bedroom doors closed.
- During a fire, crawl low along the floor to avoid smoke inhalation during exit.
- Feel doors for heat before opening them — and use alternate exit if hot.
Earthquake Preparedness Tips
- Practice “drop, cover, and hold on!” techniques.
- Stay where you are until shaking stops.
- Drop to your hands and knees so you do not injure yourself falling.
- Cover your head and neck to protect from falling debris.
- Hold on to any sturdy structure.
- If you are in an automobile, pull over and stop as quickly and safely as possible. Avoid bridges, overpasses, and buildings nearby.
You may have little warning when disaster strikes, fortunately, there are ways to prepare. Visit Ready.gov for more tips to help your family develop a disaster preparedness plan.