Week 1: Learn about emergency hazards and appropriate responses

Preparedness Tip #1
Following disaster, water may be of questionable purity. It is easiest to use bottled water for drinking and cooking if it is available. When it’s not available, it is important to know how to treat contaminated water. Use one or a combination of these treatments:  Filter: Filter the water using a piece of cloth or coffee filter to remove solid particles. Boil: Bring it to a rolling boil for about one full minute. Cool it and pour it back and forth between two clean containers to improve its taste before drinking it.

Preparedness Tip #2
Learn if earthquakes are a risk in your area by contacting your local emergency management office, local American Red Cross chapter, or state geological survey or department of natural resources.  Information about earthquake risk is also available from the U.S. Geological Survey National Seismic Hazards project.

Preparedness Tip #3
Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in terms of human hardship and economic loss. Regardless of how a flood occurs, the rule for being safe is simple: head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater, even a shallow depth of fast-moving floodwater produces more force than most people imagine. You can protect yourself by being prepared and having time to act. Local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio are the best sources of information in a flood situation.

Preparedness Tip #4
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but due to health regulations, most emergency shelters cannot house animals. Find out in advance how to care for your pets and service animals when disaster strikes. Service animals are permitted in shelters but family pets are not.  Check with local emergency management agencies about plans for housing pets after a disaster in your area.  Also be sure to store extra food and water for pets. For more information, visit the Animal Safety section on www.redcross.org or visit the Humane Society site.

Preparedness Tip #5
In some emergencies you may be required to turn off your utilities. To prepare for this type of event: Locate the electric, gas and water shut-off valves.  Keep necessary tools near gas and water valves.   Teach adult family members how to turn off utilities. If you turn off the gas, a professional must turn it back on.  Do not attempt to do this yourself.

Preparedness Tip #6
Understand that during an emergency you may be asked to “shelter-in-place” or evacuate. Plan for both possibilities and be prepared to listen to instructions from your local emergency management officials. Visit Ready.gov and www.redcross.org/preparedness for more information on sheltering-in-place.

Preparedness Tip #7
When there is concern about a potential exposure to a chemical or other airborne hazard, local officials may advise you to "sheIter­in-place “ and “seal the room.” To create a temporary barrier between you and the contaminated air outside, close and lock all windows and exterior doors, turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems and close the fireplace damper.

Preparedness Tip #8
If there is an explosion, take shelter under your desk or a sturdy table, then exit the building when possible. Do not use elevators, and check for fire and other hazards.

Preparedness Tip #9
A biological attack may or may not be immediately obvious. Most likely local heaIth care workers will report a pattern of unusual illness or a wave of sick people seeking medical attention. The best source of information will be radio or television reports. In the event of a biological attack, public heaIth officials may not immediately be able to provide information on what you should do. It will take time to determine exactly what the illness is, how it should be treated, and who may have been exposed. You should watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the internet for official news.