TO OUR NEIGHBORS IN WAYNE COUNTY
The Wayne County Emergency Management Office recommends that you plan ahead for emergency situations that could require some action on your part. These could be to shelter or evacuate in response to a particular incident. The events of the last few years remind us that home emergency preparedness is a must for everyone and should be carefully planned.
The following information is designed to help you do just that. It does not cover every conceivable emergency. However, it does offer information to help you plan for emergency situations.
PREPARING FOR AN EMERGENCY
Emergency events can occur quickly and without warning. Planning for any emergency requires considering all likely scenarios. If you are able to stay at home, electricity, water, heat, air conditioning, telephone service and transportation could be disrupted or lost for a considerable amount of time. Most emergency management planners suggest having enough food, water, medications and other essentials on hand to last your family for three to five days for weather-related events. In other types of emergencies, you may have to evacuate your home or community. In any case, it is important to develop a household emergency preparedness plan that includes:
- An emergency preparedness kit.
- An escape plan that includes a least two emergency meeting places. Pick one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as fire. Pick at least one other place outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home.
- An emergency communications plan. Choose an out-of-town person to be your contact point for family members to call if you are separated. Make sure everyone has contact information including phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
- Information about school and workplace emergency plans.
YOUR EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS KIT
The basic items that should be stored in your home are water, food, first-aid supplies, an ABC fire extinguisher, clothing and bedding, tools, emergency supplies and specialty items. Keep the items that you would most likely need at home in one easy-to-carry container such as a trash can, plastic storage container, camping backpack or duffel bag. Store in a convenient place, and put a small version in you car. Keep items in airtight plastic bags. Remember to change the stored water and rotate the food supplies every six months (place dates on containers). Check the supplies and re-think your needs every year. Consult your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medication, and maintain a list of your prescription needs.
Purchase bottled water, or store tap water in clean, airtight plastic containers. Avoid containers that will decompose or break, such as glass bottles. Plan for one-gallon of water per person per day. Water should be stored in a cool, dark place with the date labeled on the container. Having some water purification tablets on hand could be useful in the event of an extended water service outage.
Store a 3 to 5 day supply of nonperishable food per person. Foods should require no refrigeration, preparation, or cooking, and little or no water. Examples include: ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables; canned or boxed juices, milk and soup; condiments such as sugar, salt and pepper; high-energy food like peanut butter, jelly, low-sodium crackers, granola bars and trail mix; vitamins; and if needed - food for infants or persons on special diets; cookies; hard candy; instant coffee and sweetened cereals.
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and each vehicle. Items should include sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes, gauze pads, hypoallergenic adhesive tapes, triangular bandages, sterile gauze roll bandages, Ace bandages, scissors, tweezers, needle, moistened towelettes, antiseptic, thermometer, tongue depressor, tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant, safety pins, cleansing soap, latex gloves. Other items include aspirin or other pain medication, anti-diarrhea medication, activated charcoal (in case of poisoning), antacids and laxatives.
Tools and Supplies
Keep the following items handy for all-around use; battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries of assorted sizes (check shelf life before purchasing), duct tape, aluminum foil, rope, bow saw, mess kits or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, non-electric can opener and utility knife, small fire extinguisher, pliers, adjustable wrench, waterproof matches, plastic storage containers, needles and thread, plastic sheeting, whistle. For sanitation, pack toilet paper, soap and liquid detergent, feminine supplies, plastic garbage bags with ties, plastic bucket and lid, disinfectant and household chlorine bleach.
Clothing and bedding
Assemble one or two complete changes of clothing per person, sturdy shoes or work boots, rain gear, blankets or sleeping bags, hat and gloves, thermal underwear and sunglasses,
Disaster can strike without warning and older adults can especially be vulnerable in disasters. Older adults can help ensure their safety in case of an emergency by:
- Having your emergency kit at home ready to take with you in case you need to evacuate your home. The kit can also help "shelter in place" if emergency officials direct people to stay in their homes.
- Know the location and phone number of your local emergency management and American Red Cross offices.
- Labeling any equipment, such as wheelchairs, canes or walkers you would need.
- Listing the style and serial numbers of medical devices such as pacemakers.
- Planning for transportation if you need to evacuate.
- Filling prescriptions before they run out.
- Knowing the telephone number of a 24-hour pharmacy for emergencies.
- Knowing the 24-hour emergency contact number of your doctor.
- Posting emergency phone numbers near the phone.
- Keeping a copy of important contact numbers and medical information in your wallet or purse.
- Planning and practicing the best escape routes from your home.
Keep in Touch with Family and Neighbors and Share Your Emergency Information
Establish relationships with nearby neighbors before an emergency or disaster happens. Ask nearby family or neighbors you trust to check on you during a disaster. Keep in touch with you family and neighbors and look out for each other by:
- Sharing your emergency contact and medical information with your apartment building manager.
- Give your emergency contact and medical information to your neighbor or family.
- Create a contact list of your neighbors' information.
- Arrange for someone to check on you.
- Teaching those who may need to assist you in an emergency how to operate necessary equipment. Be sure they will be able to reach you.
- If you have home health care services, plan ahead with your agency for emergency procedures.
- You can register special needs or mobility issues with the County's Emergency Management Office at 946-5663.
Getting information during an emergency situation is vital, especially at the height of the event when evacuation may be required. Emergency information is provided over local EAS (emergency alert system) stations. Wayne County has two primary EAS stations that serve the county. These stations are WHAM-1180-AM, Rochester, NY and WSYR-570-AM, Syracuse, NY. Our goal is to use broadcast media to provide emergency instructions to the public. Radio and television stations provide the quickest means to obtain information. Have a battery-operated radio tuned to a local all-news or talk-radio station. Consider purchasing a battery back-up weather alert radio.
EMERGENCY PLANNING FOR BUSINESSES
Businesses are just as vulnerable to emergency situations as individual. Business owners should develop emergency plans for the sake of their employees as well as the survival of their businesses.
Emergency planning includes:
- Maintaining a list of emergency numbers of employees so their families can be contacted if necessary.
- Having a plan in place to evacuate staff and customers quickly and safely. The plan should include a designated meeting place outside the building.
- Practicing the plan with staff.
- Purchasing ample insurance coverage to minimize losses.
- Identifying crucial business operations and developing plans to ensure their continuation in the event of an emergency.
Employees need to know what to do in an emergency. The time to think about what you need to do in the event of a disruption to your business is before you face a crisis. Your employees depend on you now for direction and leadership. They will depend on you even more should there be an emergency situation.
EMERGENCY PLANNING FOR PETS
Emergency planning is for all members to the family, including pets. With the exception of service animals, most shelters do not accept pets. Prepare a list of kennels, friends or family members who may be able to care for your pet in an emergency. If you plan to place you pet in a kennel, make sure that the facility meets all requirements for long-term care and has an adequate disaster plan. If your family must relocate to a shelter or other site and there is no place for your pet to go, as a last resort, confine your pet to a specific room in the house and provide plenty of food and water to sustain the animal while you are away. Put together a basic disaster kit for your pet to take with you in case you must leave your residence quickly. Recommended items include:
- An airline-approved carrier for each dog, cat or other pets
- ID with photo, vaccination records, registrations, special needs list, sufficient medicines, collar and a muzzle/leash.
- An extra supply of pet food.
- Plenty of clean water.
- Bowls (disposable containers if you must leave your residence), manual can opener, kitchen trash bags, bleach (disinfectant and water purification), blankets, towels, paper towels and other waste disposal supplies.
You may obtain additional emergency information for pets at the Humane Society Web site at www.hsus.org
WHEN ELECTRIC POWER IS LOST
Disruption of electrical service can occur as a result of many things, including lighting, high winds, ice and heavy snow, and equipment failure. For the most part, service is normally restored within a short period. However, major power outages can happen for extended periods of time. When power is lost, you should:
- Check to see if your neighbors have power. The power loss may be only in your home, due to a blown fuse or tripped circuit. If you neighbors also are without service, call you local power company. If you must go outside to assess the situation, take a flashlight and watch for downed power lines that could still be energized. If downed lines are located, don't go near them or touch anything that they may be in contact with. Report downed power lines immediately.
- Use flashlights or battery-operated lanterns for lighting. Candles and kerosene lanterns are not recommended for lighting because of fire hazards.
- Turn off all major appliances. When major appliances-refrigerators, electric water heaters, air conditioners and pumps-are left on, they could overload electric lines when power is restored causing a second outage.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Food can be kept cold for a day or two if the doors are kept closed. During the winter, you may be able to store some items outside in a proper container. If temperatures are below freezing, it's possible to freeze water outside in containers and place them inside your refrigerator to help keep food cold. Try to consume perishable foods first. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Use portable generators cautiously. They can be used to provide limited power during an outage. But, take care to ensure that they do not pose a threat to you and your family. Never fuel or run a portable generator in the home or garage, as gas-powered generators pose a serious fire and carbon monoxide threat. Generators should be installed in compliance with your local power company's guidelines. Always operate according to the manufacture's instructions. If you depend on a well or cistern for your water supply be prepared to use alternate sources of water until power is restored. These systems normally use electric pumps that may not operate when power is out.
- Be aware that gas appliances may not work if the electricity is off because the equipment may require electricity for ignition or valve operation.
- Drain pumps, supply lines, water heaters, boilers and traps in drains of tubs, sinks, commodes, washing machines and dishwashers. Plumbing can freeze when power is lost during cold weather periods. To avoid major flooding when temperatures rise, turn off supply lines to outside spigots. Water heaters that are drained to prevent damage from freezing must have their power circuits shut off as well. Failure to so could result in loss of the heating element when power is restored. Never turn on a water heater unless the tank is full.
- List support equipment required for family members who depend on these devices (respirators, ventilators, oxygen equipment or other life-sustaining devices) with the power company. You should have a contingency plan that always includes an alternate power source for the device and relocating the person.
Select a single room in the home in which the entire family can live - ideally a room that gets sunlight during daylight hours. Use fireplaces and wood-burning stoves with care, and always supervise them when burning. Make sure the fireplace is in proper working condition and has been inspected regularly. Never use charcoal as an indoor heat source; charcoal produces deadly carbon monoxide gas. Wear layers of clothing, including sweaters and coats, which hold warm air and help to maintain body heat for longer periods. For homes with natural gas heaters, keep meters and vents clear of ice and snow.
CHECKING ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS
During storms and other emergency events, check to see how your relatives and neighbors are coping, especially senior citizens and persons with disabilities. If possible, help them plan or locate resources from which to obtain assistance. Contact your local department of human services for information on services available for the elderly and residents with disabilities.
Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community. If you are told to evacuate, it is important to stay calm, listen carefully and follow all instructions. If you're sure you have time, call your family contact to tell them where you are going and when you expect to arrive. Shut off water and electricity, but leave natural gas ON unless local officials advise you otherwise. Only a professional can restore gas service once it's turned off, and this could take weeks in a disaster situation. If you must choose quickly what to take, grab these things and go: medical supplies, disaster supplies (flashlight, batteries, radio, first-aid kit, bottled water), a change of clothes, sleeping bag or bedroll and pillow for each family member and car and house keys.
When conditions warrant, local officials may instruct residents to seek shelter in their homes or officials may establish community-based shelters for local residents. Normally shelters are set up in public schools or other appropriate facilities where residents can seek refuge as well as sleep and eat. Persons needing shelter are asked to bring a change of clothing, bathing and sanitary supplies, pre-filled prescription and other medical needs, denture and eye care materials, and special dietary supplies or requirements, along with blanket and pillow or, sleeping bag. With the exception of service animals, pets are generally not permitted in the shelter.
If local officials advise you to "shelter in place," they mean for you to remain indoors and protect yourself there. Take your children and pets indoors immediately. Get your disaster supply kit, and make sure the radio is working. Go to an interior
room without windows. In case of a chemical threat, an above ground location is preferred because some chemicals are heavier than air, and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed. While gathering your family, you should:
- Close all windows, exterior doors and fireplace dampers
- Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems.
- Wet some towels and jam them in the cracks under the doors.
- Tape around doors, windows, exhaust fans and vents.
- Use plastic garbage bags to cover windows, outlets, and heat registers.
- Close the window shades, blinds or curtains if you are told there is a danger of explosion.
- Stay inside and keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate.
This information is provided as a public service for the citizens of Wayne County. Although all reasonable efforts have been made to present accurate information, no guarantees, including expressed or implied warranties, are made with respect to this information by the Wayne County Emergency Management Office, who assumes no legal responsibility for the accuracy of presentation, comments or other information. In addition, no liability is assumed and all liability is expressly declined.