Sunday, February 11, 2007

CERT

I took an 8 week Community Emergency Response Team training session in the fall. I followed that with specific training on Traffic Control, and participated in CERT's traffic control operation for the December Toy Lift at the Fashion Square Mall. I'm planning on two more courses in the near future. One is Chainsaw Safety and Field Work Training (watch out!), the other is a First Aid and CPR class. I learned a lot from the initial course and have started with some preparations at home in case there ever is a disaster, natural or otherwise.

FEMA has information for everyone on how to plan ahead. One important item to stock, especially if you don't have a generator, is one gallon of water per person and pet per day of an expected power outage or being confied to your house for some reason. They recommend a minimum of a three day supply, but if you have the space, more is better. And if you need to purify water for drinking, you can boil it for one minute, use purification tablets, or use household liquid chlorine bleach--the unscented kind. If you use bleach, you will need 16 drops per gallon of water, or one teaspoon for 5 gallons.

Something most people probably don't think about is having a plan to find or contact family members if there is an emergency. It is recommended that every family have three meeting places. The first would be somewhere just outside your house, where you would meet if the house caught on fire or you had to evacuate it for some reason. The second is a place you would all go to if you couldn't get to your house, maybe during an ice storm, hurricane, or severe flooding, and everyone is out at work, school, running errands, etc. So this would be within a few miles of your house. The third location is going to be out of your city or town, in case there is a reason that needs to be evacuated. When this kind of situation comes up, land line and cell phone towers will be overloaded and it might be impossible to contact everyone, so having a plan in place will relieve some stress. You know where you're supposed to go to meet up with the rest of your family.

One more thing to have is an out-of-state contact. This is someone who would not be affected by an emergency happening in your area, who would be able to take calls from different family members and relay messages. So if you are sheltering at a public shelter you can give that person a way to contact you, and everyone else in your area that might need to find you calls your contact person, or he/she contacts them with your new phone number or location.

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