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Step 1: Collecting Information
By Sarah Anderson
Knowledge is one of the most important factors in emergency preparedness. It is important to learn about the common threats and hazards in your area. While some areas are more prone to fires, other areas are exposed to water damages and floods caused by extreme weather conditions.
Threats and Hazards
Knowing the common threats and hazards in your area will allow you to better prepare an emergency plan and to educate your family members. To gather the information required to create your emergency plan, contact your local emergency management office or local American Red Cross chapter.
Ask about the specific hazards that threaten your community (e.g., hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and fires) and about your risk from those hazards. Request information on how to prepare for these common hazards.
If you want to obtain additional information about local threats and hazards, get a copy of your Community Disaster Plan and read it carefully.
Community Response and Evacuation Plans
Learn how the community prepares for a disaster. Learn about community response plans, including who is in charge and emergency phone numbers. Read the evacuation plans and learn the evacuation drills and designated emergency shelters locations.
If you do not own a vehicle, be sure to find out in advance what your community's evacuation plan is for those without private transportation including locations of pick-up stations for public transportation evacuations.
Find out how local authorities will warn you of a pending disaster and how they will provide information to you during and after a disaster.
Additional information and alerting capabilities can be obtained through the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at http://www.noaa.gov.
Additional Response and Evacuation Plans
In addition to the community's response and evacuation plans, learn about the emergency plans and procedures that exist in places you and your family spend time such as places of employment, schools, and child care centers.