PEARL – On the fourth day of Tornado Preparedness Week, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service want to highlight the importance of family preparedness.
With families celebrating Halloween this evening, especially with the threat of severe weather in some parts of the state, each family should develop and review a Family Disaster Plan before a disaster strikes. This plan should include an evacuation plan, a communication plan and a disaster supply kit.
If you and your family are participating in a community celebration in a church, community center, or other public venue, be sure you know where the safest place in the building is before the weather escalates. If you will be trick-or-treating, keep close tabs on your local media, your weather radio, and your mobile device to be sure that you are safe at all times.
Here are the steps to establishing your Family Disaster Plan, not just for tonight, but for any time disaster could strike.
- Family Evacuation Plan: Develop a family evacuation plan by contacting your local emergency management office. Ask what your community’s emergency plan is, location of shelters and hospitals, evacuation routes and what types of emergency warning systems they use. For a full list of county emergency management offices, visit http://www.msema.org/local-ema/.
- Family Communications Plan: Ask friend or relative, outside of your immediate area, to serve as a family contact. Following a disaster, it may be hard to find everyone because communications systems are overloaded. It is often easier to send a text message. Everyone in the family should know the name, address and phone number for the out-of-area contact, and if a disaster strikes, everyone should contact that person to let them know that they are safe.
- Disaster Supply Kit: Every family should have a fully-stocked disaster supply kit. It should contain items like: flashlights, batteries, NOAA Weather Radio, non-perishable food items for at least 3 days, bottled water (one gallon, per person, per day), first aid kit with prescription medication, hygiene items, important documents and baby supplies (if needed). For a full list of suggested disaster kit items, visit http://www.msema.org/be-prepared/disaster-kits/.
Gov. Phil Bryant proclaimed the week of Oct. 28-Nov. 1 as Tornado Preparedness Week in Mississippi.
For more information, contact MEMA External Affairs at 866-920-MEMA (6362), or visit us online at www.msema.org. You may also visit the National Weather Service for more tornado preparedness information at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jan/?n=swad