Ready for Disaster?
Are You Prepared For Disaster:
After a major disaster, it is unlikely that emergency response services will be able to immediately respond to everyone’s needs, so it’s important to be prepared to take care of yourself and your family. Plan to be on your own for at least the first 72 hours.
- Designate an out-of-area contact person. Try to select someone that is far enough away to not be affected by the same emergency. Provide this person with the names and contact information of the people you want to keep informed of your situation. Instruct family members to call this person and tell them where they are. Long distance phone service is often restored sooner than local service.
- Duplicate important documents and keep copies off-site, either in a safety deposit box or with someone you trust. Documents may include: passport, drivers license, social security card, wills, deeds, financial statements, insurance information, marriage license and prescriptions.
- Inventory valuables, in writing and with photographs or video. Keep copies of this information off-site with your other important documents.
- Put together a disaster supply kit. Plan to have supplies for yourself and your family for at least 3 days following a disaster.
- When planning, consider the special needs of children, seniors or people with disabilities, family members that don’t speak English and pets.
Natural gas leaks can cause fires and explosions inside a building.
- If you smell gas, hear gas escaping, see a broken gas line, or if you suspect a leak, shut off the main valve and open all windows and doors.
- Never use candles or matches if you suspect a leak. Do not turn on electrical switches or appliances.
- Identify the main shutoff valve, located on the gas line coming into the main gas meter. This is usually on the exterior of your home or building, or in an external closet. Your main valve may look like this:
- Keep a crescent wrench or gas shut-off tool nearby to turn the lever.
- Never attempt to turn your gas back on. Wait for your utility company to do it. This may take several days.
Electrocution can result from direct contact with live wires or anything that has been energized by these wires.
- Locate your main electric switch, which is normally in the garage or outdoors. The panel box may have a flip switch or pull handle on a large circuit breaker.
- Shut off electricity when:
- Arcing or burning occurs in electrical devices.
- There is a fire or significant water leak.
- You smell burning insulation.
- The area around switches or plugs is blackened and/ or hot to the touch.
- A complete power loss is accompanied by the smell of burning material.
Water leaks can cause property damage and create an electrocution hazard.
- After a major earthquake, shut off your water supply to protect the water in your house. Cracked pipes may allow contaminants into the water supply in your home.
- The water shutoff is usually located in the basement, garage or where the water line enters the home. The water shutoff is located on a riser pipe and is usually a red or yellow wheel. Turn wheel clockwise to shut off.
A disaster that disrupts all or part of the City’s water and/or sewer lines could affect the way you deal with human waste.
- If there is no water in your toilet, but the sewer lines are intact, pour 3-5 gallons of water into the toilet bowl to flush. You may use seawater, bath, Laundry or pool water.
- If you suspect damage to your home’s water lines, do NOT flush the toilet. Turn off water at the house so contaminated water does not enter your water system.
- If sewer lines are broken, line bowl with double-bagged garbage bags to collect waste. Before discarding, add a small amount of bleach; then seal the bag and place in a tightly covered container, away from people.
- If the toilet is unusable, use a sturdy bucket with a tight fitting lid, and line it with a double-bagged plastic garbage bag.
Information is from the SAN FRANCISCO DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT web site 72hours.org
(Click here for a Free PDF of the full Booklet)