TO PREPARE FOR AND PREVENT HOME EMERGENCIES
Ask your local emergency management office or Red Cross chapter what potential disasters you should be prepared for in your area.
Ask how you would be warned if an emergency were to occur.
Ask about special assistance for people with disabilities and see if you can register with the fire department or emergency management office so they'll be aware of any special needs you have.
Ask your children's teachers and caregivers about emergency plans at schools and day-care centers.
Post emergency numbers near your telephones. Include a number for the nearest Poison Control Center.
Teach your children how and when to use those numbers to call for help.
Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage.
Discuss emergency procedures with family members and, if you have one, your personal care attendant.
If you use a personal care attendant from an agency, ask the agency how and where you can receive care in the event of an evacuation.
Consider wearing a medical alert tag or bracelet to identify your disability.
If you live alone, arrange for a relative or neighbor to check on you in an emergency.
Determine what your alternate shelter will be in the event of a disaster such as a tornado or earthquake.
Choose two places for your family to meet in case of an emergency. One should be right outside your house in case of fire. The other should be outside your neighborhood in case a disaster prevents you from returning home.
In case of power outage, know how to connect or start a back-up power supply for essential medical equipment.
Practice how to escape from your home if an emergency happens. Draw a floor plan showing two escape routes from each room.
Wheelchair users should have more than one wheelchair-accessible exit from the home in case the primary exit becomes blocked.
Learn how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at main valves or switches.
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit, including such items as water, non-perishable food, change of clothing, blankets, first aid kit and flashlights, plus extra car keys, credit cards and wheelchair batteries.
Keep family records in a watertight, fireproof container.
Listen to a battery-operated radio for emergency information such as the location of emergency shelters.
Check for potential hazard spots in the home. Ordinary items such as bookcases or hanging pictures or lights can cause fires or block escape routes during an emergency.
Children can get lead poisoning from any number of sources, including peeling paint and some kinds of miniblinds. (Call the National Lead Information Clearinghouse at 1-800-424- LEAD for more information.)
Store potentially harmful products, including medicines and cleaning products, in their original containers, not in anything resembling a soda bottle or drinking glass. Keep them away from food.
Throw out any old and out-of-date prescriptions. The chemicals inside medicines can change for the worse over time.
When choosing toys, look for labels that give age recommendations and follow those guidelines.
Keep children away from open windows, and don't depend on screens to prevent children from falling out.
Never leave a child unsupervised in a pool. If you have a pool, learn CPR.
Completely fence your pool, with latches that are out of reach of young children so they can't gain access unsupervised.
If you smell gas in the house, leave at once without using the phone or light switches, and call for help.
Make sure you know how to use your fire extinguisher, and test and recharge it according to manufacturer's instructions.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions on where and how to use gas space heaters. Unvented heaters should not be used in small enclosed areas, especially bedrooms, because of the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Operate portable electric heaters away from combustible materials, and try to avoid hooking them up with extension cords.
Roll up or fasten long, loose clothing while cooking.
Don't smoke in bed.
Don't try to fight a fire. Get out fast and call for help.
Flammable liquids such as gasoline should be stored outside of the house and away from heating sources.
Install smoke detectors, at least one on every floor of your home. Clean and test them at least once a month and change the batteries at least once a year.
Did you read the related article, "A Call for Safety -- Being Prepared and Getting Help When Emergencies Strike"?
Source: Muscular Dystrophy Association http://www.mdausa.org/